Grief at loss of baby Jack

Helen Barraclough, 20, lost her son, Jack Barraclough at 16 months old, after he was born with a heart defect.'Toegether with her mum, Denise Parker, they will be raising money for the charity, Children's Heart Fund.
Helen Barraclough, 20, lost her son, Jack Barraclough at 16 months old, after he was born with a heart defect.'Toegether with her mum, Denise Parker, they will be raising money for the charity, Children's Heart Fund.

A HALIFAX mum has praised an under-threat heart surgery unit that fought to save the life of her baby boy.

Sadly Helen Barraclough’s son Jack died aged 16 months after an operation at Leeds General Infirmary’s children’s centre on New Year’s Eve.

The 20-year-old has now backed a rallying cry to save the unit, which could be axed under government plans to cut the number of specialist children’s heart centres. If it closes, families with sick children from across Yorkshire would have to travel to Newcastle or Liverpool for treatment.

On Tuesday, a demonstration in Leeds against the proposal attracted 300 people who fear the implications of sick children having to travel further for life-saving treatment.

Miss Barraclough’s mum Denise Parker, of Woodside Road, Boothtown: “For us, even from Halifax to Leeds seemed far away but to have to go Newcastle or Liverpool is just ridiculous.”

Jack was born at Calderdale Royal Infirmary but was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary where doctors diagnosed a hole in his heart.

They waited until he was strong enough for heart surgery and operated when he was 16 months old, on December 22.

Miss Barraclough said: “We had his Christmas early. He got everything, the house looked like a toy store. We knew it was a risky operation but we didn’t expect what happened.”

During surgery, doctors uncovered further problems with Jack’s heart and he died in his mother’s arms on New Year’s Eve.

The family raised cash for the hospital’s intensive care unit at Jack’s funeral - and have now organised a summer fair at Boothtown Community Centre on July 16 for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund.

Ms Parker added: “When Jack was there, they were fantastic. Unfortunately it didn’t turn out good for us but I know there are a lot of families who are in the same situation and hopefully it can help them.”

To donate a raffle or auction prize contact Miss Barraclough on 07794 155133.