My life has been saved and enhanced by the wonders performed at the amazing Harefield Hospital.

I was born in 1961 with a congenital heart block. This meant my heart was beating at half the normal rate. Although serious, with careful management and regular check-ups, I got to my mid-40s without any serious issues.

In 1995, I was fitted with a pacemaker – more of a preventative measure as I felt fine. However, in 2008 my health deteriorated quite rapidly and I was referred to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

Over the next three years, they performed several procedures on me which would improve my health but soon after I started to feel poorly again. In May 2011 my consultant said they had done all they could for me.

Luckily, he quickly followed this up by saying I was being referred to Harefield. I knew this meant two things. One, my condition was not good. But two, I was going to be in the best hands possible. And by now I was feeling the worst I had ever felt; I was always tired, couldn't really walk and had a few other issues.

The initial tests at Harefield showed that I was in end-stage heart failure and in need of a heart transplant. As there are no guarantees on the timescale of receiving a suitable heart and given my poor health, it was decided I needed an artificial heart – a Left Ventricular Device (LVAD).

I was kept in hospital and fitted with one in early June. After coming to terms with all this, the LVAD really improved my health. I went home and even back to work albeit on light duties. I was still on the waiting list but could lead a reasonably normal life at home.

Things changed again in 2013 where it was found I had a break in the cable of the LVAD and infections. I was readmitted to Harefield and placed on the urgent list. This meant I would have to stay in the hospital until a transplant, with no guarantee on how long this would be.

I waited in the hospital for seven months. During this time, I got myself involved in supervised cardio rehab, volunteered for the hospital Charity and joined Singing for Breathing. All this kept me occupied and positive.

I finally received my new heart in March 2014. I went home after 9 months in the hospital. Since then my progress has been fantastic. I have taken early retirement and have returned to volunteer for the Charity. At last count, I have sold approximately £23,000 worth of merchandise since my return.

I am so grateful to the hundreds of people who have helped me through these recent events. From the surgeons to the lady who cleaned my room and came to see me in Intensive care to my family and friends who kept my spirits up when needed.

If Cliff's story has inspired you to volunteer for our Charity, please get in touch or see our latest event volunteer opportunities here