Celebrity football match kicks off Rays a Smile appeal!

Bradford Hospitals’ Charity has launched its brand new fundraising appeal to make radiology services in the city more child-friendly.

The appeal – Rays a Smile – was officially unveiled at Horsfall Stadium at a celebrity football match involving stars from TV, radio and ex-professional footballers. The celebrity XI played Team Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, which was made up of staff from across Bradford Teaching Hospitals.

The launch event netted £2,500, which will go towards the £250,000 target to make the radiology facilities more child-friendly at Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital.

Famous players included Emmerdale actor James Hooton (Sam Dingle), actor Jamie Lee-Hill (Far from the Madding Crowd), Mrs Browns’ Boys’ Rory Brown, Tim Bradbury of Tiny Tim Adventures, singer and actor Ash Stevenson, Big Brother’s Ellie Young, Sky Sports presenter Tom White, Pulse 2 football commentator Jason Thornton, and ex professional footballers David Norris, Lee Duxbury, Craig Armstrong and Darren Williams.

The celebs squared up to an enthusiastic team of Bradford Teaching Hospitals staff, including Chief Nurse Karen Dawber, who played in goal, Finance Director Matthew Horner, consultant histopathologist and team captain Faisal Ali as well as radiographers, nurses, doctors, pharmacy technicians, health care assistants, admin and technical staff.

The event was organised by Supporting Charities FC in support of Bradford Hospitals’ Charity and hosted by Bradford Park Avenue in the Community.

While the hospital team didn’t win (they played two matches ending 14-4 and 6-0) they put on a fantastic performance.

Hayley Collis, head of fundraising for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, said: “Thank you so much to everyone who came along to the launch of our appeal. It was a fantastic community event, with more than 300 people through the turnstiles and enjoying the football and entertainment. The NHS really does have the best staff and supporters so we’re looking forward to lots more fundraising fun as we head towards our goal of £250,000!”

She thanked SpaceKraft, Irwin Mitchell and Nuffield Health for sponsoring the charity team kit.


Rays a Smile aims to raise £250,000 to:

  • Create designated children’s waiting areas at Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital, which are bright, warm and welcoming and kitted out with distraction toys,
  • revamp some rooms used for X-ray, ultrasound, CT scans and MRI scans with colourful décor to distract children,
  • create a ‘snuggle room’ for parents to soothe babies to sleep before scans, to avoid the need for general anaesthetic,
  • purchase a specialist ‘Relax and View’ machine, which plays films and videos while the young patient is undergoing an MRI scan,
  • purchase sound systems to play music for children while they are scanned.

Almost all patients treated in hospital, either as an inpatient or outpatient, are referred for imaging. Around 55 children are imaged every single day in Bradford’s hospitals.

Most radiology staff work from the basement in Bradford Royal Infirmary, which has little natural light, using X-ray, ultrasound, CT and MRI to diagnose patients. A smaller unit of ultrasound and X-ray is based at St Luke’s Hospital’s D Block.

It is believed that a brighter, more child-friendly environment will benefit all patients, including some adults who find imaging stressful. It will also speed up scan times because people will be less anxious and avoid sedation, thus providing better quality images.

Dr LeeAnne Elliott, paediatric radiologist, said: “We now have a brand new, bright and colourful children’s ward, which has dramatically improved the experiences for our young patients coming in for treatment. But when they are called for imaging, they are often very daunted to enter radiology, where they are met by large machines which are loud and, certainly for children, quite scary.

“Anxiety can cause delays in scanning, which can potentially delay treatment. We want to put children and their families at ease, ensuring they get a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. But we need your help to do this.”

Hayley Collis, head of fundraising for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, said: “It is a long time since we launched a fundraising appeal, so we’re excited to unveil our plans to transform our radiology services for children.

“Most people will have experience of having an x-ray, which is daunting enough. In fact most adults are very anxious when they have an MRI or CT scan. Imagine if it were your child who needed one of these scans and how scary it would be. We want to provide the best for Bradford’s children when they come into hospital, but we need to fundraise to do this.

“The people of Bradford love their NHS and want to support it, so we’re confident residents and businesses will back us to reach our quarter of a million pound target.”

To find out more about the Rays a Smile appeal, to view the appeal video and find out how you can donate and fundraise, visit www.bradfordhospitalscharity.org.uk/rays-a-smile

Featured in the appeal video is 10-year-old MollyMae Windle, who is backing the appeal. MolllyMae has Cystic Fibrosis and, as a patient at Bradford Royal Infirmary, has to have lots of scans.

If you would like to donate or raise money for Rays a Smile, please contact Hayley or Elaine on 01274 274809 or email [email protected]