PRINCESS Anne has officially opened Bradford Royal Infirmary’s new £28m hospital wing.

The Princess Royal spent an hour this morning touring the new facilities at BRI meeting staff and patients on the first leg of a visit to the district that will also see her officially open the Sunbridgewells development in the city centre before visiting Stanley Mills Weavers.

The multi-million pound investment took two years to build and is home to two spacious children and young people’s wards, a state-of-the-art 16-bed intensive care unit (ICU), dementia-friendly wards for the elderly and a new retail concourse.

During her tour, guided by Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chairperson Professor Clive Kay, she met ten-year-old patient Destiny Henderson who was with her mum Tanya and three-year-old sister Twyla in the activity room that also doubles up as a dining room.

Destiny, who lives in East Bowling and has spent three days on the children's ward, told the Princess Royal all about the lights in her room that she can make change colour just by moving her finger about.


The Trust's chairman Professor Bill McCarthy invited the royal visitor to unveil a plaque in the new concourse area.

He said: "This is a magnificent project. We are delighted with the space, the design is fantastic, the technology is cutting-edge but all of this would count for nothing if it wasn't for the wonderful staff and their skills, commitment and passion for caring for the city's people at their most vulnerable times. This is really a tribute to all the staff in this hospital."

The Princess Royal, who last visited the hospital in 2016 to visit its award-winning maternity unit, said: "It's a transformation in so many different ways. Congratulations to you."

The new wing development is part of the Foundation Trust’s £75m investment to improving patient care in its hospitals over the next five years. Bradford Hospitals Children’s Charity’s new ambassador, Hassan Nazir, 24, who spent many months on the old BRI children’s wards as a child and who was involved in the new paediatric ward designs, presented Her Royal Highness with a posy.

Mr Nazir worked alongside consultant paediatrician Beccy Bardgett, chairperson of Bradford Hospitals Children’s Charity, along with many other fundraisers to raise more than £250,000 to bring enhancements, toys and equipment to the new hospital wing’s children’s wards.

The Princess then spent her lunchtime at a £1.9million underground shopping scheme in Bradford.

The Sunbridgewells scheme, off Centenary Square, and built underneath Sunbridge Road, Upper Millergate and Ivegate, was given the Royal seal of approval.

During her visit, which lasted an hour and ten minutes, Princess Anne was given a guided tour of the site and unveiled a plaque in Wallers Brewery. More than 200 VIP guests, including former Bradford Council leader, Councillor David Green, attended the event.

Graham Hall, of Yeadon-based developer Sunbridgewells, said: “The visit went really well.

“Princess Anne enjoyed the place, she was very impressed and said it was unique. She said there is nothing like this anywhere else in the country.

“It doesn’t get any better than this. I will have to start calling it Royal Sunbridgewells after her visit now.”

She also stopped to have a chat to a number of owners of huts selling goods including food and flowers.

Leah Teale, who worked at the Quality Yorkshire Pie Co hut, said: “It was exciting to speak to her and I was nervous. “She said we should do a haggis Scotch egg. It was good to meet her.”

Princess Anne’s third and final stop in Bradford was to Stanley Mills Weavers, Edward Street, after it installed £1.2m worth of new weaving machinery.