Let’s make Bradford City sparkle!

Kelly Thornham News

Bradford Hospitals’ Charity is joining forces with Bradford City AFC again this year to Sparkle for Axl.

City supporters will be encouraged to raise their phone torches at half time at the City v Rochdale match on Saturday 17 December to make the stadium sparkle in memory of a special little boy, Axl Walker, and donate. Fundraisers will also be out in force with their collection buckets before kick-off.

The annual Sparkle for Axl Appeal raises money to fund toys, games, arts, crafts and gaming equipment to relax and distract children who are in hospital for treatment and tests. The appeal is held in memory of Axl who had a rare blood disorder and was a regular patient at Bradford Royal Infirmary before he sadly died three days before his third birthday in 2018.

Bradford Hospitals’ Charity – the official charity of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – funds over and above what the NHS provides. As a former patient in the Children’s Ward, Axl loved playing with the toys funded by the charity. The money raised will mean all children who are cared for in Bradford’s hospitals have access to toys.

Watch the charity’s appeal film here: https://youtu.be/EF6DtnlW2fQ

This will be the fourth year the football club has backed Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, but the first that defender Matty Foulds has stepped up to offer his support for the NHS charity as player ambassador, taking over the mantel from Richard O’Donnell.

Matty said: “It is an honour to be the new club ambassador for the Bradford Hospitals’ Charity.

“I have been at the club a few years now, and having been born in Bradford and started my youth career here, Bradford City, the city of Bradford and the local community means a lot to me.

“When I learned of Axl’s story, and having children of my own, I was very touched and wanted to help in whatever way I could.

“When you also consider the fantastic efforts of the NHS, and their efforts all year round to save countless lives, this is a fantastic cause that we as a club are proud to be supporting.

“I remember the fixture last season which was dedicated to Sparkle for Axl – against Sutton United – well, and am looking forward to seeing Valley Parade sparkle again on 17 December.”

Sharon Milner, Bradford Hospitals’ Charity Director, said: “We are delighted to work with Bradford City again this year to raise money for our Sparkle for Axl Appeal.

“We value the relationship we have with the club and its many loyal fans, who have consistently supported our charity over the years. Bradford City is a family club, very much in the heart of the community, so it makes sense to work with our NHS charity. Long may the partnership last!”

Claire Walker, Axl’s mum, said: “Bradford City is our local team, so having their support is massive to us.

“They have helped us over many years now, and I feel we have made a strong connection with them. I’m especially grateful for the support they have given Axl’s big brother, Lucas. He really looks forward to bucket collecting and he sees working with his ‘team’ as one of his highlights of his year.”

More information can be found at https://bradfordhospitalscharity.org/sparkle/

You can donate at https://bradfordhospitalscharity.enthuse.com/cf/sparkle-for-axl-appeal or by texting AXL followed by your donation amount to 70085.

Matty Foulds and Sharon Milner