Teams race to make a splash for Bradford Hospitals Charity

This year’s Bradford Dragon Boat Festival will see 45 teams compete in the Lord Mayor’s Championship – all in aid of Bradford Hospitals’ Charity’s neonatal appeal.

Three teams from Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will paddle in the special Lord Mayor’s Day, held at Robert’s Park, Saltaire, on Saturday 1 July. They are: Neonatal Ninjas (Neonatal Unit), Breaking Waters (Maternity), and X-Raycers (Radiology). You can support their oar-some efforts by accessing their Just Giving pages at:

Bradford Hospitals’ Charity’s neonatal appeal was the charitable cause chosen by Cllr Martin Love during his mayoral year of 2022/23.

The excitement will continue on the Multi-Charity Championship Day on Sunday 2 July, as two more teams step up to the challenge to raise money for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity. Team Oar-Sam, representing Howden Group, along with a team from the Bradford Teaching Hospitals physiotherapy department, will paddle for our charity.

Neonatal Matron Jamie Steele said: “The Bradford neonatal team have competed in the Dragon Boat Festival for a number of years and have been proud to support the Bradford Hospitals’ Charity.  This year, our involvement is even more special to us as we have been the chosen benefactor of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal for the last 12 months. We are incredibly grateful of the support of the Lord Mayor and the generous people of Bradford who are helping us to build a home-from-home for families of babies born prematurely. 

“Eight per cent of all babies born in the UK are premature.  This equates to around 60,000 babies born early every year. We have around 500 babies each year admitted to the Bradford Neonatal Unit from across the Yorkshire and Humber region.  Families of premature babies suffer greatly during the early days and weeks post-delivery.  In addition to the grief at the loss of a perceived normal pregnancy many families will have the stress to deal with of seeing their beautiful baby in a critically ill condition.  Many will live fearing the worst and for some this will sadly become a reality. At the same time as families are going through such a stressful experience we know from recent studies that neonatal families suffer a significant financial burden to compound their problems. Recent research found that the average neonatal family spends £405 per week on additional travel expenses, take away food and childcare for siblings whilst their baby is in hospital.  This comes at a time when families lose out on additional income from starting maternity leave early and dads having to take extra time off of work. 

“We don’t believe that this is okay and at Bradford we want to support our families by providing accommodation so that mums, dads and small siblings rarely need to leave the unit.  In addition to providing intensive care to their babies we want to ensure all families have a safe place to stay, near to their baby and with access to food, rest areas, laundry and prayer facilities.   We hope that by providing these things we can improve the mental health of our families, reduce stress and anxiety, aid bonding with new babies and reduce the financial burden on the family.

“We would be grateful for any support and offer our most heartfelt thanks to anyone who donates any amount, however small.”

Consultant Paediatric Radiologist LeeAnne Elliot, who will be competing with the X-Raycers, said: “We have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the race in previous years and we have become increasingly competitive each year! Radiology at Bradford Teaching Hospitals has benefited enormously from support from Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, and made many improvements to facilities within our departments for children and young people. Our corridors and waiting rooms have been transformed with the help of funds form the charity. We love supporting the charity’s fundraising and we are looking forward to the race on the day!”

Bradford Hospitals’ Charity Director Sharon Milner said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Cllr Love for choosing to raise money for our neonatal appeal. Not only has he significantly boosted funds already, but he has also helped us spread the word in our community.

“We’re thrilled to have such overwhelming support at this brilliant event and we wish everyone the best of luck as they paddle their way to victory and to raise money to help families with neonatal babies.”

More information about Bradford Hospitals’ Charity’s neonatal appeal can be found at

For more information about Bradford Dragon Boat Festival visit

Last year’s X-Raycers team