A BRADFORD boxing legend is ‘delighted’ that a sports center that bears his name has unexpectedly been granted Grade II status after originally planning to demolish it.
The Richard Dunn Sports Center in Odsal, named after the Bradford-born boxer famous for fighting Muhammad Ali, was due to be knocked down late last year.
However, last week it was announced that Historic England had been granted listed building status after the Twentieth Century Society, which campaigns for the preservation of buildings, submitted an application to save it.
Richard Dunn, whose center bears the name, is “delighted” that the historic site is saved, say his relatives.
Mr Dunn’s son-in-law Gregg Scott spoke on behalf of the 77-year-old as he now suffers from dementia.
He said: “We told Richard the building was being saved and he seemed absolutely delighted. He has dementia now, but he understood when we told him a few years ago that he was being demolished which was quite a sad moment, but told us last week that it had been given listed building status and he seemed over the moon.”
“It’s more than something named after him, he helped build it, and it has a special place in his heart.”
The center closed in November 2019 – coinciding with the opening of the nearby £17.5million Sedbergh Leisure Center complex and initial plans were for demolition to start in early summer 2020.
Greg said: “Luckily we managed to arrange a visit for him a few days before closing. He had a great time and lots of memories came back to him. It was a day with lots of smiles and lots of memories, it means a lot to him.”
However, a new use was found for the historic place when the pandemic hit as it was used as a drive-thru Covid testing center and an ‘electrostatic biocide spray station’ for vehicles to be disinfected to prevent the spread of the virus .
Now locals have speculated what the building might be used for.
When asked what Mr Dunn would like it to be used for, Mr Scott said: “He just wants it to be put to good use, and people benefit from it. It could be used, but he hopes it will be put to good use. to be used for the people who need it most.”