"I feel hugely honoured to have been appointed as a Patron of the Children's Heart Unit Fund (CHUF).
"I am extremely proud of the North East and to have a unit of this calibre serving both the region and the UK is a credit to our medical profession and talented medical professionals within."
More top news
A lorry driver has been praised by police after spotting the terrified animal and safely collecting it
Some fans got to the stadium 12 hours early to make sure they bagged the best spot for Beyonce's huge concert in Sunderland
Former Newcastle United captain Alan Shearer admits interest in England role - but backs ex-Boro boss Gareth Southgate and Glenn Hoddle