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Frank Bruno dinner raises almost £3,000 for Leanne Baker Trust

Portrait of boxing legend by Darren Baker sells at auction for £1,000

A sporting dinner featuring boxing legend Frank Bruno raised almost £3,000 for a charitable trust set up in memory of an Almondbury woman.

An Audience with Frank Bruno at Huddersfield’s John Smith’s Stadium on Friday night raised money for the Leanne Baker Trust.

Leanne, 35, sister of renowned Meltham artist Darren Baker, took her own life while depressed.

Since her death in June 2013, her family has raised almost £30,000 to provide support for people with mental illness.

Darren, 38, produced a specially-commissioned black and white portrait of Bruno which was auctioned on the night.

The portrait, in pastel, charcoal and pencil, left Bruno genuinely stunned.

It raised a cool £1,000 and was bought by Darren’s manager Darren Birkby, who is likely to donate it back to the trust to help raise even more money in the future.

Signed prints will also be taken from the original artwork.

Other items auctioned included a Bruno boxing glove and shorts, gloves from boxers Mike Tyson and Sugar Ray Leonard and signed football shirts from Eric Cantona, Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard.

Darren Baker, who attended with his parents John and Carol and wife Abigail, paid a touching tribute to his sister while Bruno spoke openly and honestly about his own mental health problems.

Bruno was sectioned under the Mental Health Act in 2003 and later diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Event organiser James Beattie said: “Frank spoke from the heart about his mental health issues and Darren spoke about Leanne and the room was completely silent.

“It was very poignant and very moving and very brave of Darren to get up and speak like that.”

Darren described the night as “really emotional” and thanked Bruno for his kind words and support.

“He spoke to my mum and extended his sympathies for our loss and said he knows from personal experience how hard it all is,” he said.

“He’s just a normal, down to earth bloke and you can see why he’s so well loved.

“It was quite a night and an amazing event.”


Doug Thomson
Huddersfield Town correspondent
Chris Roberts
Huddersfield Giants correspondent
Louise Cooper
Crime correspondent
Nick Lavigueur
Health Correspondent
Joanne Douglas
Local Government Correspondent
Linda Whitwam
Education Correspondent
Henryk Zientek
Business Correspondent
Martin Shaw
Mirfield Correspondent