BOXING legend Frank Bruno, has given his backing to a lifesaving campaign launched in memory of a 14-week-old baby during a visit to South Tyneside.
The former world heavyweight champion was at the Hedworth Hall on Thursday to host a sports night.
As part of the evening, he helped to promote Gazette-backed In Miley’s Memory – a campaign aimed at raising awareness of organ donation.
The campaign was launched in February by the family of Miley Turbitt, who died while waiting for hearty transplant.
As well as boosting the campaign’s profile, a raffle also raised cash which the Hedworth Hall and European Boxing Federation has donated for the Children’s Heart Foundation Unit (CHUF) at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, where Miley was cared for.
A boxing fan who also bought a glove signed by Bruno also asked for it to be auctioned off to raise funds for the cause.
Sharon Eckert, Miley’s mum, who was at the event, said: “I really can’t thank Tony and Gavin at the Hedworth Hall enough for all the support they have given to the campaign and for allowing us to promote the campaign at the event.
“It’s just been amazing to have Frank Bruno support the campaign. It has been a brilliant night and the whole family appreciate what the Hedworth Hall and the people at the event have done for us.”
During the night, fans were able to pose for pictures with the former boxer who entered the main hall to chants of “Bruno, Bruno”
He spoke of how his boxing career started before going on to talk about his fight history and how he had always dreamed of becoming a champion.
When asked who hit the hardest – Lennox Lewis or Mike Tyson – he jokingly replied “the tax man”.
Owner of the Hedworth Hall, Tony Singh said: “There was a great atmosphere to the night. We are just happy we have been able to help raise the profile of Miley’s campaign and money for the Children’s Heart Unit.
“We have had great support from the promoters and Morgan’s Gym as well as event sponsors Richmond Taxis and Morgan’s gym.”
James Ward of the European Boxing Federation said: “We were only too happy to donate our half of the monies raised through the raffle to the charity as it is such a great cause.”
Miley Turbitt, who suffered a severe form of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, lost her fight for life last November, after a heart failed to be found in time.
Since then, her family have campaigned to raise awareness of organ donation which has led to more than 600 people in South Tyneside to sign up to the organ donation register since its launch.