THE so-called Bradford Jesus Man is critically-ill in hospital following a stroke.

Geoffrey Brindley, who is also known as the Airedale Monk, was taken ill last Thursday.

A close friend of Mr Brindley said the 88-year-old fell down the stairs at his home in Baildon. He was found by the friend he has shared the property with for the last 25 years.

"He is in a very serious state," said the friend. "We know he fell down a whole staircase, but do not know if he had a stroke at the top or bottom of the stairs.

"We want to thank the two ambulance people that took him from the house to the hospital."

He added: "We are praying for him, we are hoping. We want to see him get out of bed.

"He is well-thought of by people - it will have an emotional ripple. He has lived a good life, everyone has a wonderful story about him."

Mr Brindley is well-known for walking the streets of the district in a brown robe and sandals, which he has been doing since the 1960s. The Telegraph & Argus reported in 1960 how Mr Brindley, then 33, gave up his job as a machinist to live in a cave near Settle in order to receive a message from God. He spent 12 days in the cave before setting off back to Bradford wearing a habit.