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November 4, 2007

Help to bestow gift of hearing

From: Bradford Telegraph Argus - Bradford,England,UK - Nov 4, 2007

By Claire Lomax

When the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Robin Owens, came to choose the charities he would support during his year in office he thought of his fellow Harden resident, Chris Raine.

Mr Raine, an ear, nose and throat consultant at Bradford Royal Infirmary and founder of the Ear Trust, had embarked on the tough challenge of raising enough money to build a new centre at BRI to house the Yorkshire Cochlear Implant Service (YCIS) - a total of £2.5million.

Back in February, 1990, Mr Raine brought cochlear implants to the city and since then he and his expanding team have helped restore the hearing - and change the lives - of around 400 patients from across Yorkshire and beyond.

But the service has become a victim of its own success, with an increasing number of referrals.

A new home is needed for all the elements of the service to be housed under one roof with adequate space for staff and patients and their families.

Mr Raine and the Ear Trust, a registered charity set up to support the work of the YCIS, have so far raised £1million towards the new centre and Coun Owens chose to support the Ear Trust, recognising the "hard road ahead".

The Tele-graph & Argus Listening for Life Appeal has also been launched to help raise the remaining £1.5million needed for the centre.

"I was originally looking for Bradford-based and Bradford-inspired charities to support and I wanted to provide something that might not otherwise happen," said Coun Owens, who is also supporting the Bradford Cancer Support Daisy Appeal.

"I know Chris Raine and I said by supporting the Ear Trust it would not just be about money but it would also raise the whole profile of the cause."

When Coun Owens launched his charities the event was attended by Chris Raine, who brought with him a patient - a grandfather who had benefited from cochlear implants.

The gentleman had gone totally deaf, and as a consequence had lost contact with his family, particularly his grandchildren. When the cochlear implants restored his hearing they also restored these precious relationships.

"It is a communication thing," said Coun Owens. "Without hearing it is so difficult for people to communicate, and you lose out on so much."

Coun Owens has experienced hearing problems himself, having been left deaf in his right ear after a string of ear infections as a child.

"I have massive sympathy with people who have lost any of their senses," he said.

"I applaud anything that helps raise the profile of this cause."

©2007 Bradford Telegraph Argus