Bradford City will give back to NHS heroes across the district - when taking on Cambridge United this Saturday (December 19) - in a fixture dedicated to Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and its ‘Sparkle for Axl’ campaign.
The match will host a number of initiatives aimed at showing support for those who have made admirable sacrifices throughout 2020, a year where COVID-19 has impacted the lives of many.
It signifies City’s continued support of the ‘Sparkle for Axl’ fund and and its ability to provide additional specialist toys and games for children and young people - as well as the work Bradford Hospitals’ Charity does in supporting children in hospital and both running the Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospitals, the children’s ward at both these institutes and the NHS as a whole.
The move follows the club’s sponsoring of a Bradford Hospitals’ Charity Christmas snowflake - as part of their first-ever winter snowflake appeal - which hangs proudly outside Bradford Royal Infirmary.
This weekend, officials and players from both sides will warm up in Bradford Hospitals’ Charity t-shirts, with the Utilita Energy Stadium also set to light up in memory of Axl Walker - a former patient on the BRI children’s ward who sadly passed away in 2018.
Should the Bradford district be placed until tier 2 COVID-19 lockdown restrictions ahead of the fixture, the club and the charity asks supporters to get behind this appeal by shining lights, torches and mobile phones to make Valley Parade sparkle as the players take to the field.
On top of this, matchday sponsors for the fixture, Peckover Transport (Associate Match Sponsor) and SMF Print (Matchball Sponsor) have opted to donate their sponsorship assets to Bradford Hospitals’ Charity - which will in turn be auctioned to be raise vital funds.
This week, each member of the City first-team squad has also contributed towards ensuring those on the children’s wards at the two aforementioned hospitals receive gifts this Christmas - via Bradford Hospitals’ Charity’s Amazon Wishlist.
The gesture fills the void which has been created by COVID-19, denying the Bantams the opportunity to visit the wards and hand gifts out to vulnerable youngsters - as would traditionally be the case.
The club urges supporters, where possible, to play their part in putting smiles on the faces of those on the children’s wards, by CLICKING HERE to purchase items on the Amazon Wishlist.
Hayley Collis, head of fundraising for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, said: “We are thrilled to have the support of Bradford City in our ‘Sparkle for Axl’ campaign.
“Bradford City is a real family football club and so it is wonderful that we can join forces to raise money in memory of such a popular little boy.
“Throughout 2020 and 2021, we have been delighted to have been one of the Bantams’ chosen charities.
“We would be over the moon if City fans could show their support at the Cambridge United match, by going online and donating however much they can afford - to help make our children’s wards sparkle for Axl this Christmas.”
Claire Walker, mother of Axl, said: “This year is more important than ever to #Sparkle4Axl.
“To see everyone sparkling means so much to us. Thank you, Bradford City, for your continued support.”
A City spokesperson added: “We are once again delighted to be getting behind Bradford Hospitals’ Charity and their ‘Sparkle for Axl’ campaign.
“This year, given the situation we still unfortunately find ourselves in, the NHS has gone beyond the call of duty - despite the difficult circumstances the organisation has faced.
“To be showing our support for and giving back to the heroes across the district - while playing our part in remembering a very special little boy - makes us immensely proud.
“Everyone here at Bradford City Football Club is hugely grateful for the tireless efforts made by every single NHS staff member, and hopes our support of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust reflects that.”
A text service has been established by Bradford Hospitals’ Charity for supporters to donate whatever they can to this year’s ‘Sparkle for Axl’ campaign.
To make a contribution:
Text AXL 3 to 70085 to donate £3
Texts cost £3 plus one standard rate message
For more information on how to become involved with this season’s Bradford Hospitals’ Charity fixture, and play your part in giving back to NHS heroes across the district, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about Bradford Hospitals’ Charity and how you can support your local hospitals, please CLICK HERE.
For more information on Bradford Hospitals’ Charity’s Christmas appeal and the initiatives it entails, please CLICK HERE.
For more information on ‘Sparkle for Axl’ - including details on how to donate - please CLICK HERE.
To register a fundraising activity for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity this year, please CLICK HERE.