Tyne & Wear

Ant and Dec become patrons of Freeman Children's Heart Unit

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Media captionAnt and Dec have become patrons of the Freeman Heart Unit

Geordie TV presenters Ant and Dec have announced they will be patrons of the Children's Heart Unit Fund at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital.

Ant McPartlin said the pair had "jumped at the chance to become patrons".

Dec Donnelly praised the unit's work and said visiting it "puts things into perspective".

The pair said they had already raised over £200,000 for the unit at a celebrity golf day also attended by fellow patron Alan Shearer.

The Freeman unit has faced uncertainty after the suspension of a national review into children's heart surgery.

The review had recommended keeping the unit open, while ending children's heart surgery at three hospitals in Leeds, Leicester and London.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt ordered a review of the decision.

Unit chairman Simon Haynes said: "When there's been all the publicity surrounding possible reconfiguration of children's heart services, to have patrons involved with the Children's Heart Unit Fund who help us with the work here is just unbelievable."

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