Boxing legend Frank Bruno proves a ‘knockout’ success at BRI

Frank Bruno took time out of his busy schedule at Bradford Literature Festival to visit the Children and Young People’s Unit at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI).

Frank, who is one of Britain’s best-known sporting figures, spoke at the festival on Saturday (7 July) about his remarkable career and life. Speaking to BBC Look North presenter and Yorkshire’s own Harry Gration, he also talked about his struggles with his mental health.

During his visit to Bradford, Frank then went on to meet youngsters at the brand new Children and Young People’s Unit at BRI, where he handed out books to patients and chatted to the children and medical staff.

The visit was organised by Bradford Literature Festival in conjunction with Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, who wanted to bring something fun and unique to patients at BRI. The festival works closely with community organisations and charities to ensure their events and guests are accessible to everyone.

Light up

Ruth Tolley, Matron for Children’s Inpatient Services, said: “It is just wonderful to see our patients’ faces light up when stars like Frank enter our wards.

“The kids absolutely loved him and he was amazing with them, helping them to forget they were sick and in hospital.

“Frank and Bradford Literature Festival also left us lots of books which will help keep the children distracted during their time with us and which we are very grateful for.”

Frank spent around an hour visiting and chatting with patients, parents and staff on wards 30 and 32.

Hayley Collis, Head of Fundraising for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, said: “Frank’s visit brightened up the day of all the children and young people in hospital and the staff too! He is such a well-loved sportsman and has such a friendly personality that he lifted the mood of everyone he met.

“Thank you to Frank for finding the time to visit our young patients and thank you to Bradford Literature Festival for donating books. The generosity of organisations and individuals makes such a difference to the experience of our patients and their families when they are in hospital.”

Extra special

Syima Aslam, Bradford Literature Festival director, said: “When we confirmed that Frank would be visiting the festival this year we knew that we had to do something extra special.

“We work very hard to reach as many young people as possible, and alongside our schools’ programme – which reached over 20,000 students this year – we have worked with a number of charities to take some of our incredible speakers and storytellers to children who need it the most.

“Working with Bradford Hospitals’ Charity has been a real pleasure. To see the smiles on the faces of the patients and their families as they came to meet Frank and pick up a book demonstrates everything that we are trying to achieve with the festival.“

Festival organisers hope to continue working with Bradford Hospitals’ Charity to bring more events to patients in the future.

Anyone can make a donation to Bradford Hospitals’ Charity by visiting Find out more about fundraising at or call Hayley Collis or Elaine Drake on 01274 274809 or email