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Thousands raised for Bradford Burns Unit following virtual Valley Parade fire memorial

The funds raised will aid pioneering research and development, supporting patients and their families.

Bradford's Plastic Surgery and Burns Research Unit (PSBRU) is set to receive close to £8,000 - following this year's virtual Valley Parade Fire Memorial.

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, this year's annual memorial fixture - marking the 35th anniversary of the tragedy - was unable to go ahead as scheduled.

This meant, with PSBRU collections which would usually take place on the day of the fixture not being possible, other initiatives to raise vital funds were planned.

These included the 'Four Captains' video-call evening, organised and presented by Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive, James Mason, and the club's director of communications, Ryan Sparks.

This event saw former City captains Gary Jones, Peter Jackson, Stephen Darby and manager Stuart McCall, among others, come together for a night of entertainment on May 12.

Club photographer, Thomas Gadd, Georgia Thornton, of Bradford City Ribbons, and the White Abbey Branch supporters' group heavily contributed towards the figure.

And fundraising initiatives were also held by Vital Lincoln City and Thackley Primary School - who proceeded with their tradition claret and amber-themed day.

The Plastic Surgery and Burns Research Unit was established shortly after the disaster and continues to care for patients and improve the delivery of treatment.

Funds raised will aid pioneering research and development, supporting patients and their families.

Professor Ajay Mahajan, a consultant plastic surgeon and the director of research at PSBRU, said: "We have been faced with many challenges this year, on account of being caught in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"However, our research unit continues to thrive - even during these adverse times - thanks to vital funds raised by the people of Bradford, through their ingenious ideas.

"Even though things were paused at Valley Parade, Ryan and James put together a fabulous evening to keep thousands of us entertained, while at home.

"Thomas Gadd, our club’s official photographer, launched a very interesting fundraising campaign, capturing memorable moments of people at their front doors.

"Georgia Thornton has done some amazing work for us in the past but, as the lockdown affected her usual fundraising activities, she came up with the brilliant idea of raising money through auctioning Bantams memorabilia.

"Terri Whitham of the White Abbey Branch supporters' club, our friends in Lincoln - who share our pain - and Thackley Primary School also pulled together to raise great amounts.

"We are extremely grateful to everyone for continuing to support our Plastic Surgery and Burns Research Unit at the University of Bradford, through these difficult times."

Sparks added: “This year’s fundraising efforts have been nothing short of remarkable.

“Without the possibility of staging the annual memorial fixture, our supporters have responded with fantastic determination to help get behind a cause close to all our hearts.

“It says a great deal about our fanbase - which comes together brilliantly, every year, to help raise vital funds for the PSBRU.”

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