THE Lord Mayor of Bradford, Zafar Ali, hosted a Civic Reception at City Hall last night for members of Bradford Disability Sport & Leisure (BDSL), following their success at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi last month.

The five Bradford athletes involved at the games all won medals for Great Britain.

Keighley equestrian pair James Reed-Griffiths and T-Jay Wilson won four golds and a silver between them, while there was also a gold medal for Eccleshill basketball star Neil Hartley.

Fellow Eccleshill athlete Mark Rhodes came third in the golf competition, while 16-year-old cyclist Ella Curtis, from Baildon, also picked up a bronze.

It was an incredible achievement given that 7,500 athletes, from almost every country in the world, were competing at the games.

It was not just the Bradford group's sporting achievements that were recognised, with their friendly behaviour receiving widespread praise.

However, the quintet were left devastated, along with their families and staff at BDSL, a fortnight ago when thieves stole a catalytic converter from their minibus in Shipley.

The minibus is vital for transporting the athletes to competitions and the organisation were looking at an eye-watering repair bill to get it back on the road again.

Purchasing a replacement part would have eaten into their limited funding for the athletes, which relies heavily on families and local authorities and businesses.

Fortunately, Shipley MP Philip Davies contacted Buzz Bingo, who have branches in Bradford and Keighley, and they offered to pay the £400 excess for the insurance last week.

That meant those associated with BDSL could enjoy last night's Civic Reception, without the minibus drama hanging over their heads.

The reception at City Hall saw the Lord Mayor welcome a group of around 30 into the Banqueting Hall.

He was thrilled by what the athletes had achieved, saying: "They have done enormously well for Britain and for Bradford, especially travelling all the way to Abu Dhabi.

"They won their medals gracefully and they've come back gracefully too.

"I am very proud of how they shone Bradford's star in a foreign country."

It was not just the successful athletes, their families and BDSL staff attending last night's event.

Leader of Bradford Council, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe was in attendance, as were Cllr Sarah Ferriby and the Deputy Mayor of Keighley, Peter Corkindale.

The Lord Mayor and a BDSL representative spoke at the reception, which lasted for around 90 minutes.