THE burns research unit at theUniversity of Bradford has been boosted by funds from a theatre group's production based on the Bradford City fire.

Members of the FYSA theatre group met Ajay Mahajan and Professor Des Tobin, director for Centre for Skin Sciences, at the university's Plastic Surgery and Burns Research Unit (PSBRU).

The group handed over £500 raised from its performances of 'The 56' at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.

The play is based on the real-life accounts from witnesses and survivors of The Bradford City Fire.

The blaze, on May 11, 1985, claimed a total of 56 victims, 54 Bradford City fans and two supporters of their opponents that day, Lincoln City.

Hundreds of other fans suffered severe burns as the blaze ripped through the wooden stand.

FYSA, a Sheffield-based independent theatre group, is also set to perform the play in regional theatres in the spring, including the Alhambra Studio in Bradford on April 23 to 25 next year.

The group plans to continue to raise funds from future shows to the PSBRU.

FYSA chose to do the production after some of its members attended a memorial service at Centenary Square in May this year, marking the 29th anniversary of the disaster.

Other events taking place next year include an educational outreach scheme which aims to educate youngsters about The Bradford City Fire.

Mr Mahajan, consultant plastic surgeon and director of the plastic surgery and burns research unit, said: "We at the research unit are very grateful to the members of the FYSA theatre company for their generosity.

"It is gestures such as these that keep the memories of the 56 alive among us and help us towards our efforts to improve health care through our research activities."

The co-creator of the 56, Gemma Wilson, 22, of Kenstone Crescent, Idle, said: "It was really good to be at the research unit.

"Now we have got to see where the money is going.

"It's really nice to give something back to where I'm from.

"People have been really positive about the show. The show helps to educate the next generation of people from Bradford about the fire.

"My family are Bradford City fans and the fire is something that I knew about.

"We are currently writing the show to make it a little bit longer when we perform it next year."

This donation is the latest boost for the unit after it was announced last month that a £300,000 target has been set to raise funds to mark the 30th anniversary since the disaster next year.

A minute's silence and a bucket collection will be held before all Premier League and Football League matches on the weekend of April 25.