THE mother of a boy who had heart surgery when he was 16 days old has called on people to support a festive fundraising event on Saturday (December 8).

Laura Hollinshead, of Catterick Garrison, said she hoped crowds would turn out for the Richmond Santa Mile, which will see adults and children aged over 14 receive a free Santa suit to walk or run one, three or six miles along a disused railway track.

Youngsters are being invited to attend in festive fancy dress to take part in the Children’s Fancy Dress Competition at 9.30am.

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The event, registration for which will start at 9am at Richmondshire Leisure Centre, will raise funds for the British Heart Foundation.

Mrs Hollinshead, whose son Dylan was born with a heart defect in May 2007, said: “We all know someone that’s been affected by heart disease, sadly it touches us all.

“At just 16 days old Dylan underwent seven hours of surgery to repair his heart, spent four weeks in intensive care and had to have a second operation at 16 months old.

“Today, Dylan is just like any other little boy. Without the work of the British Heart Foundation (BHF), this might not have been possible.

"The information and support they provided helped us to understand Dylan’s condition at a confusing and frightening time.”