A BRADFORD surgeon who picked up his MBE from Buckingham Palace this week said news of the city's fantastic work with deaf people has reached royal ears.

Professor Chris Raine, who set up a charity at Bradford Royal Infirmary to buy cochlear implants before the NHS ever provided them, said it was clear during his conversation with the Princess Royal, who handed him his award, that she knew a lot about Bradford's work with deaf people.

He said: “It was an incredible experience to be presented with my medal at the Buckingham Palace service and a real honour to represent The Ear Trust charity and the NHS here in Bradford.

“We had a wonderful day and, during my conversation with the Princess Royal, it was clear that she knew a lot about our charity and the impact deafness has on people's lives. She was also very much aware of the importance of what we have achieved here at Bradford Royal Infirmary with the establishment of the Listening for Life Centre and the fantastic work that takes place there."

He added: "It was a great day and one that I, my wife Anne, and my children, will remember forever.”

Last month marked the 25th anniversary of the Yorkshire Auditory Implant Service which has given the gift of hearing to almost 1,000 people by carrying out 940 life-changing cochlear implants.

The implant service was started by Prof Raine after he learned of the benefits that cochlear implants could bring to patients with profound deafness. The electronic devices are put inside the inner ear and send a signal to the auditory nerve, giving the patient the sensation of sound.

Patients now come from across the whole of the north of England and as far away as the Isle of Man, when it began 25 years ago there was just Prof Raine and two others, now the service has more than 28 employees including surgeons, audiologists, speech therapists, teachers of the deaf, technicians and interpreters who are supported by an administration team.

Prof Raine also founded The Ear Trust charity to buy the first cochlear implants for patients because NHS funding was not secured for the service until 1995, the charity's supporters are still continuing fundraising to help support the service's work.

Over the years, the youngest child to be implanted was six-months-old while the oldest patient was 86.

In 2009, the implant service expanded into the high-tech £2.8 million Listening for Life facility, within the grounds of BRI, which was officially opened by The Duke of Gloucester.