A Bradford charity which raises money so that patients can receive the gift of hearing after life-changing surgery is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month.
The Ear Trust, based at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI), was set up by surgeon and ear, nose and throat consultant, Professor Chris Raine MBE, after he learned of the benefits that cochlear implants could bring to patients with profound deafness.
In 1990, the charity funded the first operations to insert the tiny electronic devices inside the inner ear as they were not readily available on the NHS. The cochlear implants send a signal to the auditory nerve, giving patients the sensation of sound.
Twenty-five years on, the charity has raised millions for Bradford patients and funded £2.2m of the BRI’s £2.8m hi-tech Listening for Life Centre, which was officially opened by HRH The Duke of Gloucester in 2009.
Professor Raine said: “This is a very personal celebration. The Ear Trust is very dear to me as I started the charity in order to buy the first cochlear implants for our patients as NHS funding was not secured for the service until 1995.
“We have been privileged to be involved in the lives of fantastic patients and their families and feel very fortunate to have played such an important role in their progression into the world of sound.”
The charity continues to work hard today to support the work of the Yorkshire Auditory Implant Service (YAIS) which has implanted more than 940 patients and provided over 1,000 implants – half of which have been surgically implanted by Professor Raine.
Festivities get underway on September 11 when supporters of the charity, including Bradford Teaching Hospitals chairman, Lord Kamlesh Patel of Bradford OBE, chief executive, Professor Clive Kay, Bradford businessman, Sir James Hill, and representatives from the Newcastle-upon-Tyne based Shears Foundation, will gather along with the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Joanne Dodds, at Salt’s Mill, Saltaire, for a ‘Silver Celebration’ black-tie dinner.
Professor Kay added: “Lord Patel and I are delighted to be attending this event as we want to say a personal thank you to some of the many kind-hearted people who have worked very hard over the years for The Ear Trust.
“They, along with Chris, his family, Ear Trust trustees past and present and fundraiser Breeda Barry, have put in a tremendous amount of their own time and energy for the good of our patients, who now come from as far away as the Isle of Man, such is the reputation of this service.
“This event provides us with an opportunity to express heartfelt gratitude to our loyal supporters and benefactors, who over the years have contributed greatly in improving the lives of so many profoundly deaf people within this region.”