A FORMER Bradford councillor and ex-serviceman has been left hospitalised after he was attacked by three youths following a Remembrance service.
Tony Niland, 58, whose soldier brother John died of injuries he suffered in a car bomb attack in Northern Ireland, had been to the service at the Bradford Cenotaph and was still wearing military dress, a poppy and his late brother's war medal, when the incident happened several hours later.
He is said to be in a serious condition in Bradford Royal Infirmary after suffering a number of seizures.
Mr Niland has long-standing health problems which cause him to suffer fits and bleeds on the brain. Members of his family are with him, including his wife Margaret, and three children.
Labour councillors and friends yesterday spoke of their shock and upset.
Bradford Council leader David Green, who has visited Mr Niland in hospital, said: "He is clearly not in good physical shape. His face is badly cut and bruised and there was some concern about possible internal bleeding.
"But he was still typically Tony and keen to get out of hospital.
"He said he had been walking to get a cab when he was attacked by three young men. I was told by his family he was found unconscious on the ground. He was wearing the suit and tie he had worn to the Remembrance service, a poppy and war medals."
Coun Green added: "There are many people in Bradford who will know Tony and who Tony has assisted over the years, either in his political role or as a member of the community.
"He has always had time for everybody and anybody, and anyone who has information that will help police catch the people who carried out this cowardly attack, I urge to come forward, or contact me and I will make sure it gets passed on to the police."
Councillor Imran Khan (Lab, Bowling and Barkerend) visited Mr Niland in hospital yesterday afternoon and said: "He's in quite a bad way, but he was surprisingly upbeat and taking what has happened in his stride.
"He is a very courageous man and anybody else wouldn't have dealt with it as well as he has."
Coun Khan added: "He told me he was set upon by three people as he walked with his stick, innocently minding his own business. It is a disgraceful and cowardly act.
"I can't believe someone would do that but Tony said he didn't want anyone to take retribution for what happened to him. He wants the police to deal with it in the usual way."
Councillor Ruth Billheimer (Lab, Eccleshill) said she had spoken to Mr Niland's wife, Margaret, who said her husband had been attacked.
She said: "He is an ill man to begin with. You wouldn't want that to happen to anybody, but he was the worst person in the world for it to happen to because it has triggered these reactions. It's really sad he has this underlying condition which means it's far more serious for him.
"It was a shock when I heard about it. People who know him are very upset."
Mr Niland served for ten years as a Labour councillor in the Wyke and Bowling wards on Bradford Council, and was the Party's deputy chief whip and deputy chairman of West Yorkshire Fire Authority.
He lost his seat in 2006 but remained active within the Labour group.
Before his political career he served with the Royal Marines, and had several spells of duty in Northern Ireland. He is a staunch attender of the Remembrance Sunday service. He also worked at the Sunblest bakery in Bradford and was a shop steward and union convenor.
Police are looking into the Mr Niland's allegations.
Acting Sergeant Vikki Tyrell, of the Bradford City Area Neighbourhood Team, said: "We are investigating a report of an alleged assault in Piccadilly, which is believed to have occurred around 9pm on Sunday, November 9.
"Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."