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Professor Sharpe, hero of the Bradford fire, to be honoured
A hero of the Valley Parade fire will be honoured at the stadium tomorrow when a university fellowship is launched in his name.
Professor David Sharpe treated dozens of people in the hours after the 1985 disaster and shortly afterwards founded the burns unit of Bradford University.
The unit has gone on to help thousands of people, as well as making Bradford a pioneer in the field of plastic surgery.
He retired earlier this year, and now his successor, consultant surgeon Ajay Mahajan has set up the David Sharpe Fellowship for research in plastic surgery in the hope of cementing his legacy in the city.
The fellowship is being officially announced at Bradford City’s home game against Crawley Town tomorrow. The match-day programme will include an eight- page supplement detailing his accomplishments over the years, and there will be a half-time ceremony that will see Prof Sharpe handed a testimonial volume including memories and appreciations of the work of the unit over the years.
It has been organised by the City Supporters group and the burns unit.
The Bradford City fire claimed the lives of 56 people, and left almost 260 people injured, and many of those suffering burns were treated by Prof Sharpe’s team.
He went on to become one of the nation’s top plastic surgery specialists, and because of his expertise also helped at the Piper Alpha North Sea Oil Rig fire and the 7/7 London bombings. However, his main focus has been breast reconstruction.
Prof Sharpe was honoured with an OBE for his work at the City fire in 1986, and in 2011 was awarded an honorary doctorate in science by the University of Bradford.
Mr Mahajan said he was inspired to set up the fellowship after reading a T&A feature on “Names that should never be forgotten” in Bradford.
One of these was Prof Sharpe. He said: “He has done so much for his patients, the Plastic Surgery and Burns Unit, and plastic and reconstructive surgery as a whole that his contributions need to be indelibly acknowledged.
“I feel very privileged to be handed over the reigns from Prof Sharpe and I will ensure that in future this prestigious fellowship will be one of the most sought after fellowships in the country.”
The money for the fellowship will come from funds donated to the burns unit from various sources.
Mr Mahajan said the fellowship will be for people in the early stages of a career in plastic surgery, and would involve research into new techniques.
He said: “Prof Sharpe more than deserves this, when he retired we felt he deserved a bigger send off.”
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