BROMSGROVE'S Ben Francis, founder of Gymshark, has been named as Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Charity’s first-ever patron.

Over the last 12 months Ben has built a strong relationship with Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Charity through the fitness community and Gymshark, which pledged to support the charity from the onset of the pandemic.

Last year, Gymshark donated £180,000 to the charity after thousands of people uploaded a sweaty selfie using the hashtag #NHSSweatySelfie.

For every selfie uploaded, of which there were almost 36,000, Gymshark donated £5 to the charity.

Ben said: “I’ve long been in awe of the incredible work of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospitals.

"My mum has worked as a nurse at the Queen Elizabeth in Birmingham all of my life, so I know first-hand how unbelievably hardworking they are and the impact they have on so many people.

"When the guys at the charity approached me about becoming a patron, I accepted without hesitation. I look forward to working with them to continue to raise awareness and funds for this amazing charity.”

As patron, Ben will help the charity to raise awareness and much-needed funds.

The chairman of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust professor, Sir Bruce Keogh said: “We are absolutely thrilled Ben has agreed to accept this prestigious role.

“Our charity is vital in supporting our hospitals’ surgeons, physicians and nurses to push boundaries and deliver world-leading research, treatment and care to our brave patients.

“As the need and importance of our charity continues to grow we have ambitious plans to increase the impact of our work – both here in the Midlands, across the UK and beyond – so that we can do more for the women, children and families in our care. Ben is the perfect champion to keep us inspired to achieve and deliver our vision.”

Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust is the first of its kind in the UK, delivering family-centred care through Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Birmingham Women’s Hospital