Bradford – Monday, May 11 marks the 30th anniversary of the Bradford City AFC fire disaster at Valley Parade.
The Lord Mayor of Bradford Coun Mike Gibbons will attend the memorial service on Monday, 11 May to remember the 56 people who died the disaster in 1985.
The Lincoln Mayor and Mayoress, Coun Brent Charlesworth and Coun Kathleen Brothwell, will represent the city of Lincoln at the event. Bradford City were playing Lincoln City in their last home match of the season in 1985 when the fire ripped through the ground killing 54 Bradford City fans, two Lincoln City fans and injuring many more.
The service which starts at 11am will be conducted by the chaplain to Bradford City AFC, the Revd Andy Grieff and the Lord Mayor’s chaplain Revd Canon Philip Gray supported by the Rt Revd Dr Toby Howarth, Area Bishop for Bradford in the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales. The event, which is attended by the relatives and friends of those who lost their lives or were injured, as well as local people, takes place at the memorial sculpture in Centenary Square.
As part of the commemoration, the bells of the City Hall clock will toll once for each person who lost their life in the tragedy and their names will also be read out. Reading out the names will be John Helm, who commentated on the match 30 years ago, Shaun Harvey, the chief executive of The Football League, Phil Parkinson, the manager Bradford City AFC and Stephen Darby the captain of Bradford City AFC.
There will be a minute silence will be followed by ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ played by The City of Bradford Brass Band and sung by Opera North soprano, Victoria Sharp.
The Lord Mayor of Bradford will lead a wreath laying ceremony by laying a wreath on behalf of the city and the district. Wreaths laid by the Mayor and the Sheriff of Lincoln and the Oberbürgermeister of Hamm will follow this. Bereaved families will then lay their tributes and a Bradford City AFC representative and officers from the emergency services will also lay wreaths. Once these wreaths have been laid, others who wish to lay their own wreaths or floral tributes are welcome to do so.
Following the laying of floral tributes The City of Bradford Brass Band will accompany the singing of ‘Abide with Me’.
Fire engines will be parked on Centenary Square for the duration of the service and before it a garland of flowers will be placed on the “Memorial Bell” at the top of the civic staircase in City Hall. The bell was donated to the city by the fire service as it came from the first fire engine to arrive on the scene on the 11 May 1985.
The Lord Mayor, Coun Mike Gibbons, said: “The Bradford City fire lives long in the memories of the people of Bradford. I feel it is very important that we as a city take time each year on May 11, to remember those who lost their lives or were injured by this tragic event, which continues to touch the lives of so many in our district.”