New charitable fund to keep hearts beating in Essex

16th October 2020

A new charitable fund with its heart firmly in Essex has been launched with a pledge to spend money raised in the county on cardiac services for the county.

Essex Heart Fund has been set up by two local consultant cardiologists, Dr Gerald Clesham and Dr Thomas Keeble, along with charity specialist Fred Heddell, to bring major improvements to the lives of Essex heart patients and their families.

The fund will be managed by the highly respected independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation. Money donated to the Essex Heart Fund will only be spent in Essex, on community services and support groups, on the development of new hospital-based clinical services and to support local cardiovascular education and research.

Dr Clesham, who works at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford and at the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre in Basildon, said: “We know that the people of Essex are already very generous in donating to heart charities, however, only a tiny fraction of the money donated to national heart charities finds its way back to Essex. Our aim in setting up the Essex Heart Fund is to raise charitable funds for cardiac care in Essex and ensure that the money is spent in Essex.

“The fund will help support groups for patients and their families in the community, will fund new clinical services and will promote cardiovascular research and teaching in local hospitals and the community.

“Heart conditions are still the commonest causes of premature death and are a major cause of disability. Cardiac services in Essex serve a population of about 1.8 million people and we are confident that channelling more money into local services will result in an improved outcome for heart patients.”

Dr Clesham, who has been a consultant in Essex for 20 years, is president of the Chelmsford and District Cardiac Support Group and sees at first-hand how patients can often feel unsupported after being discharged from hospital.

“Helping patients in the community is a very effective way of keeping people well and the Essex Heart Fund will help cardiac patient support groups develop in Essex,” he said.

The fund will also enable new clinical services to be launched in Essex hospitals and the aim is for the NHS to commission the services when they have proved to be a success.

Locally based cutting-edge research and teaching in hospitals and the community will be another major area supported by the fund.

The initiatives will not only benefit patients but will also help with recruitment and retention of hospital staff, said Dr Clesham.

He and Dr Keeble, who works at Southend Hospital and the Cardiothoracic Centre in Basildon, will be active in the Essex community to promote the fund and provide education about heart health.

“The Essex Heart Fund will have its own identity and we are pleased to be working with Essex Community Foundation as our umbrella organisation to provide all the relevant charity governance, which enables us to concentrate on the areas we want to support,” said Dr Clesham.

To find out more about the new Essex Heart Fund and to make a donation visit:

To donate £5, text ESSEXHF to 70970
To donate £10, text ESSEXHF to 70191