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Official opening of Pakistan hospital Bradford helped to build
A hospital created in an earthquake-hit area of Pakistan with the help of more than £80,000 in cash raised by Telegraph & Argus readers has officially opened.
Dignitaries including the Prime Minister of Kashmir, Chaudhry Abdul Majid, were at the inauguration of the hospital in Azad Kashmir, ravaged when a major earthquake in 2005 struck close to Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-governed Azad Kashmir.
It killed 87,000 people and left thousands without access to medical facilities.
Scores of people living in the Bradford district had friends or relatives killed or made homeless.
A ward named after the T&A now has beds in and is waiting to take patients.
The T&A has been thanked for being such a “compassionate” newspaper by helping raise the cash to make the dream a reality by the Lord Mayor who created the appeal back in 2005.
At the same time a group of doctors in the Midlands which helped the victims after the disaster, set up the Midland Doctors Association UK (MDAUK), also to build a hospital.
The appeals were combined, with T&A readers donating £81,707.52.
Coun Binney said: “That is such fantastic news that it has opened and wonderful that so much money was raised.
“The T&A is a very compassionate newspaper and helps to get the message across.
“I want to say thank you to all those who have contributed. You hear so much about appeals but don’t always hear back what has happened. Obviously it is to help those in Kashmir and there are quite a lot of people in Bradford who come from Kashmir.
“It is so wonderful and marvellous. We are very, very pleased with it.”
The hospital was officially opened with Dr Syed Yusuf Iftikhar, the MDAUK chairman and a consultant surgeon at the Royal Derby Hospital, who has been in Pakistan for weeks, overseeeing the details.
He travels to the hospital every three months to help out in addition to his UK job.
Speaking after the ceremony, he said: “It was very well attended with the Prime Minister of Kashmir there and dignitaries.
“Executives from MDAUK were also there and now we are open for business. We have started the outpatients and everything is ready “Our next section will be the X-ray and theatres which will be next to start. That will be on March 28 and we are waiting for the ward (named after the T&A).
“That is all done, with all the beds there and we just need to set it up. There are already 12 beds in there.
“I cannot express how excited we are about the whole thing. It has taken four years to do from a distance, but look at where we are now.
“Thank you to everybody, not only in Bradford, but in the UK and all over the world.
“This is an unqiue facility and the layout of the hospital will put it anywhere in the world as a top class facility, so thank you to everybody in Bradford.
“It has taken some time and a lot of money to do it, and is a major facility.”
A fundraising dinner organised by the MDAUK sub-committee in Bradford in 2007 at Bradford City Football Club raised £160,000.
This included the cheque for more than £80,000 from the T&A.