MORE than 200 people attended a charity ball in aid of the Children's Heart Unit Fund at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital.

The event was held at Tennant's of Leyburn on Saturday night and raised an amazing £18,000.

The Children’s Heart Unit is one of the world’s leading specialist centres for teenagers, young children and babies born with, or who develop, heart conditions. The unit is just one of two in the UK that has the facilities and skills to offer paediatric transplant and bridge-to-transplant operations. As a result, the Children’s Heart Unit treats critically ill babies, children and teenagers from across the UK.

The event was organised by Sam, Olivia and Wayne Cherry.

Sam said: "Ben Cherry, who is now 14 years of age, gave an inspirational speech in front of the 220 people on the evening of the Ball, explaining more about the charity work CHUF provided to all on the unit.

"He also explained the procedure he had been through and how much CHUF helps teenagers, children and babies like himself to develop their skills and mature as any healthy child normally would."

Sam added: "Tennants were superb and the evening ran smoothly which gave everyone attending the opportunity to have a great night as well as raising vital funding and awareness for the charity.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank family, friends and everyone who attended, to all those who made generous donations to the charity and helped us achieve the amount we did. This would not have been as successful if it was not for their support and we truly appreciate that."