Lagan's Foundation to become national charity

The Bolton News: Carren Bell Carren Bell

A CHARITY launched by a Horwich mother to help families of babies born with congenital heart defects is set to go national.

Lagan’s Foundation, launched by Carren Bell following the death of her four-month-old daughter in 2011, is making a bid for a UK-wide profile at a glitzy Bollywood to Hollywood-themed ball in Manchester later this year.

The event is on Saturday, November 22 at the Palace Hotel, Oxford Road — a location chosen for its ease of access from all over the UK by train.

Ms Bell’s efforts have been boosted by Bolton businessman Mark Pollitt, managing director of Lostock telecoms firm Digicomm, and the Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Martin Donaghy, who has designated Lagan’s Foundation as one of his chosen charities for his year in office.

Mr Pollitt, aged 41, is the first patron of the charity named in the memory of Ms Bell and her partner Barry Grant’s daughter, and is urging other business leaders in the town to support the cause.

So far, they have raised more than £90,000, which has been used to help the families of children born with life-shattering heart problems.

Ms Bell, aged 34, said: “One in 100 children in the UK is born with congenital heart defects. It means there are 12 to 15 born every day — it’s that common.

“Lagan was born in January, 2011, and had to have open-heart surgery within the first seven days to have any chance of life. She stayed there another seven weeks, but when you get home in that situation, it’s very difficult because you feel very isolated and very vulnerable.

“I got very angry with the lack of appropriate provision locally and approached Alder Hey Hospital on Merseyside, where Lagan was treated.

“When she died in the April, I vowed I was going to do something positive for other parents in mine and Barry’s position.

“Alder Hey said it would take the resources of a corporate medical company to tackle the issue effectively. But now they have seen what we have done, we have a fantastic relationship with the staff there. They love what we’re doing.”

Mr Pollitt said he was approached by a friend and fellow Rotarian to attend the first charity event run by Lagan’s Foundation in 2011.

He said: “The reason I got involved was Carren’s passion and drive. There are a lot charities and they all do fantastic jobs, but they get a lot of corporate help.

“This is very personal to Carren and it shows that everything she has gone through hasn’t been in vain. The objective of the charity is to help the families of the children who have had a heart transplant — not just the children.”

The event will involve guests dressing as Bollywood or Hollywood stars, and includes performances from an aerial dancer, singer Lauran Waterworth and Matt Philips who has appeared in Coronation Street.

Patrons’ packages are available at lagans.org.uk or call Ms Bell on 07879 663304.

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