Manchester City legends visited The Christie on Valentine’s Day to donate to The Christie charity in memory of the club’s life president, Bernard Halford.
City hero Colin Bell presented a fundraising cheque for £1,100 to his son Dr Jon Bell, a consultant interventional radiologist at The Christie, to mark the event. The funds were raised in December at a dinner at Denton Golf Club.
City heroes Peter Barnes, Jim Whitley, Jeff Whitley, Alex Williams, Tony Book, Allan Grafton, Ian Brightwell, Michael Brown and Derek Partridge were joined by Sky Sports commentator and City fan John Gwynne to pay tribute to ‘Mr Manchester City’, Bernard Halford.
Colin Bell said: “Bernard was loved by everybody at Manchester City and we believe he would find it very fitting to have us here at The Christie, where he was cared for, meeting fans in his memory.
“He’s very sadly missed but his memory will always be kept alive by our fans and we’re delighted to meet so many of them at The Christie today.”
Dr Jon Bell, consultant interventional radiologist, at The Christie, said: “Obviously it is very special for me personally to receive this cheque from my dad and particularly in Bernard’s memory.
“Manchester City is very close to my heart and it is great to see the connection the club has with The Christie charity and we are absolutely delighted that these icons of the club could generously donate not only the funds, but their time here today.”
Bernard, who was treated at The Christie, passed away aged 77 in March last year. He joined City during the 1972/73 season, initially as ‘Company Secretary’, eventually becoming Club Secretary and remained in the role for nearly 40 years.
In 2006, Bernard was elected to the Club’s Hall of Fame - the only non-player to be bestowed this honour. And in 2010, Bernard became only the Club’s second Life President as he approached 40 years of service with City.
As well as the players, the club’s record trophy haul from the past 2 seasons was also on display for patients, staff and visitors to have their pictures taken with.
The former players have taken in part in numerous charity events in aid of The Christie over the past decade, raising thousands of pounds for The Christie charity.
Derek Partridge, who manages the former players’ charity team, said: “We wanted to do something in Bernard’s memory and it seems right to be here on Valentine’s Day, as it is about love and we all loved Bernard.
“Bernard was very dear to all of us and we’re very proud to be able to donate the funds in his memory to The Christie charity. The staff here are all amazing and it’s great to have met so many fans.”
Once a player for the second team, Derek has been involved with Manchester City for 30 years and first got involved with the fundraising arm when it was set up in the 1990s by ex-City player, Ken Barnes.
The Christie charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust providing enhanced services over and above what the NHS funds. This includes money for care and treatment, research, education and extra patient services. Gifts from the public make a huge difference to the care and treatment that The Christie is able to provide to patients and their families.
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust was the first specialist trust to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ twice (in 2016 and 2018) by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It referred to The Christie as ‘a leader in cancer care’ and ‘a pioneer in developing innovative solutions to cancer care.’ The CQC praised the Trust’s staff which it said ‘go the extra mile to meet the needs of patients and their families’ and that they were ‘exceptionally kind and caring.’ In 2017, the CQC rated The Christie as the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England.