THIS week the Telegraph & Argus Bradford Crocus Cancer Appeal reached and raised enough money to buy a new piece of machinery to help city cancer researchers speed-up their vital work.

The Appeal started in May 2013 and was a joint initiative between the University of Bradford, Yorkshire Cancer Research, Sovereign Health Care and the Telegraph & Argus to ask people to support the district's life-saving research.

It was our biggest campaign for more than a decade and aimed to raise enough money for the University's Institute of Cancer Therapeutics (ICT) to buy a new mass spectrometer. The new kit, which was this week unveiled at the ICT, means the analysis of proteins, which can spread cancerous cells, can happen ten times faster.

The appeal was warmly supported by people across the district who tackled all kinds of activities to support it.

One of the first Bradfordians to raise money in month one of the appeal was 58-year-old Shipley businessman Mohammed Ishfaq, who took part in a daredevil 15,000ft parachute jump.

It didn't all need to be thrills and spills to raise much-needed money though, as Queensbury great-great grandad Eddie Streetly, who sadly passed away in February, proved in August 2013 - instead of receiving presents for his 90th birthday, he asked for donations to be made to the Crocus appeal.

The following month, 86-year-old East Bowling grandad Thomas Woods braved 30mph winds and a puncture to tackle Yorkshire Cancer Research's The Dales Rider cycling course, in which he was the oldest competitor.

The appeal was given a boost at the Positive Bradford event in September 2013, when Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins helped plant hundreds of bulbs to create a large Crocus Appeal symbol in City Park.

In November 2013, the Italian rugby league team also lent its green-fingered support, planting crocus bulbs in the University's Peace Garden.

Then Rosie Hodge, a ten-year-old pupil from Sandal Primary School in Baildon, won the Telegraph & Argus contest to design a festive card to go on sale to boost the appeal, dedicating her snowman design to her father Damien, who died of cancer during her childhood.

In December, alumni at the University pledged £110,000 towards the appeal via a five-week telethon when students contacted former graduates, smashing their original target of £40,000.


Students also regularly took part in bag-packing events at Bradford supermarkets to keep the total ticking over.

In May last year, Crocus Week, involving local businesses, schools, community groups and individuals, was held. For one of the week's events, more than 50 brave souls tackled a nervy abseil from the top of the Jury's Inn in Bradford city centre.

Cycling was also a popular challenge, with University staff taking part in a 140-mile coast-to-coast challenge, and 50-year-old businessman Paul Singh getting in the saddle for a sponsored 200-mile ride in the MITIE London Revolution event.

The campaign was also made an official charity partner for the 2014 Bradford City Runs last October, which raised more than £10,000.

Last autumn, hairstylist Hannah Wardman shaved her head to help boost the appeal.

In January, Omar's Balti House in Great Horton Road agreed to donate to the appeal if anyone successfully completed its giant naan bread challenge, finishing a 3ft by 1ft 6ins naan in just 35 minutes, a task Adam Moran, 29, from Leeds, completed in March.

This week, we announced the final total was reached, thanks to a £200,000 donation from Sovereign Health Care, one of the key partners in the appeal.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:
Members of staff from the T&A who took part in the 2014 City Runs to boost the Crocus Appeal, helping to raise more than £10,000

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:
Shelley Hurst, Chris Pargeter, and Dean Dowling from the University of Bradford's Archery Club taking part in a 24-hour shooting marathon to raise money for the Crocus Appeal

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:
Mohammad Sadiq, owner of Omar's Balti House, with Telegraph & Argus reporter Mark Stanford who attempted the giant naan bread challenge to boost the Crocus Appeal

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:
Bag-packing University of Bradford students (back row from left) Joanne Tongola, Bilal Tahir, Mitch Long, and Ibukun Oyegbesan, (front, from left) Imran Khan, Jelila Efunkunle, Yuka Yonega, and Naoki Ikeda

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:
Paul Singh, who cycled more than 200 miles in the MITIE London Revolution event to raise money during Crocus Week in May 2014

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Telegraph and Argus team look nervous before their abseil down the Jurys Inn building
Members of the T&A team look nervous before attempting an abseil from the top of the Jurys Inn in Bradford city centre, raising money for the Crocus Appeal