Frank Bruno MBE meets lockdown knitting heroes at Leighton Buzzard Fire Station

Sports champion Frank Bruno MBE paid a special visit to Leighton Buzzard Fire Station in aid of Mental Health Awareness Week.
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The former professional boxer chatted to some star members of the local community yesterday (May 16), who were invited by the station and Bedfordshire Fire Cadets.

The special guests had helped to lift residents' spirits during lockdown thanks to a knitting initiative organised by a Leighton Buzzard PCSO.

A Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue spokeswoman said: "Encouraged by Police Community Support Officer Rachel Carne, these community members worked tirelessly during the lockdown, knitting an incredible total of 999 socks with a blue line through them.

Frank Bruno MBE meets community members. Photo: Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.Frank Bruno MBE meets community members. Photo: Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Frank Bruno MBE meets community members. Photo: Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

"Frank Bruno MBE, a Leighton Buzzard resident, attended the event to speak out about mental health and in particular the theme of loneliness. He joined the Police and Crime Commissioner of Bedfordshire, Festus Akinbusoye, in meeting the residents and cadets."

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PCC Akinbusoye said: “I am delighted to have been able to attend this evening to support Police Community Support Officer Carne, as well as the emergency service staff who have been able to come out this evening. Mental Health is an issue that affects a huge number of people in the British population.

“We want to get the message out there that it is okay not to be okay. It’s not a sign of weakness to come forward and be able to ask for help, whether you are old or young, male or female.

“Thank you to Frank Bruno MBE for coming out to help us get this message out and thank you to all the people who have been knitting socks to help to keep this message alive in our communities.”

Leighton Buzzard Community Policing Team wrote on social media: “Thank you so much Frank Bruno for supporting the emergency services, as part of our mental health awareness campaign.

“Officers and staff were all given a sock with a thin blue line, which had been knitted by ladies in the community during lockdown. Frank Bruno MBE is an inspiring man who really encouraged us. He advised us to look after each other, then made us laugh when he told us he knocked Tyson out in the boxing ring.”