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This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

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Heart Research UK

Heart Research UK is a national charity proudly based in Yorkshire.   HRUK, formerly known as the National Heart Research Fund, was founded 45 years ago by heart surgeon, David Watson.

When asked why David formed the charity, he simply said that he was tired of telling heart patients that “there was nothing more I can do”.   David knew there was a desperate need for more research to be done that would boost knowledge of the heart and mean more patients could be treated.   Heart Research UK is dedicated to the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease, which remains the UK’s biggest killer.

Heart Research UK can boast some outstanding achievements such as funding six out of the first eight successful heart transplants in the UK.   The charity also funded the development of a revolutionary heart valve, one of the most reliable in use in the world today.

Getting enough funds for research did not always prove easy but HRUK is known for being an innovative charity.  Taking a pioneering approach has allowed many medical breakthroughs that would not otherwise have been developed. 

One of the biggest events on the HRUK calendar is the “Sing for Your Heart” campaign.   Every year through mid-December (8-15 December), choirs and music groups are encouraged to sing at many different locations throughout the UK.  The event highlights the health benefits of singing as well as bringing communities together. It is an all-around great fund raiser as well as helping to inspire people to help their hearts by singing.  In 2011 young people from the Archbishop of York Primary School found out about the benefits of singing when they joined the Archbishop of York – and a Patron of HRUK – Dr John Sentamu and HRUK National Director, Barbara Harpham, in a Sing for Your Heart event.

Archbishop of York Junior School and Heart Research

Alongside fund raising, Heart Research UK also develops lifestyle tips.   HRUK is the first charity to give out Healthy Heart Grants to local community projects across the UK, inspiring people to change their lives, and their futures.  It helps people find out information on how to live a healthy heart lifestyle: eg. What food is best for their heart? What exercise and what hobbies are beneficial for keeping your heart as healthy as possible?  HRUK believes that informing and educating people on their heart health is just as vital as the research needed to treat them, and HRUK staff also visit companies and organisations to carry out health and lifestyle checks. Ten years on from introducing healthy heart grants, HRUK now fund over £1m of research each year and have current on-going support of £4m in UK universities, hospitals and centres of excellence.

One of Heart Research UK’s aims is to help the experts of tomorrow on their first steps on the research ladder. Through knowledge-sharing “masterclasses” HRUK enable talented young clinicians and researchers to become the professors and specialists of the future by learning from eminent and experienced clinicians. HRUK wants to be able to educate people about their hearts - making sure they have the knowledge and encouragement to look after their hearts.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has been a Patron of Heart Research UK since 2009.