FINLAY Harris has spent much of his young life so far in hospitals and surgeries – so a trip to Cotswold Wildlife Park was just the health tonic he needed.

Oxford charity Young Hearts organised the day out on Tuesday for the 15-month-old and other children with heart conditions, enjoying seeing the meerkats and the park’s other animals.

Finlay was born with tetralogy of Fallot, which results in low blood oxygenation due to problems with the heart’s left ventricle.

He had an operation in September 2013 at Great Ormond Street Hospital, in London, and had a pace-maker fitted in November after complications.

Now he is on the mend and has enjoyed his longest period without a hospital trip.

Mum Sarah, 31, who works in healthcare, said: “We discovered Finlay’s problem at my 20-week anti-natal scan, so I was in touch with Young Hearts before he was born.

“They have been involved since then, giving us support as we prepared for the operation and helping us with the logistics of the trip to London for surgery.”

Mrs Harris, who lives in Littleworth, near Wheatley, with husband Jack, 30, said days out are important for children such as Finlay, and their parents.

She said: “Young Hearts organised a fun day at RAF Benson last August and there was a Christmas party where Santa came and gave gifts to the children.

“It is nice to see other families and build up a support network, and Finlay really enjoyed looking at all the different animals.

“He’s just beginning to talk so he was copying the sounds they made and he had a great time.”

Young Hearts supports children with heart conditions and their families in the six counties served by the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.

For information visit

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone's contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

Our top stories