Bradford City AFC will this morning host an online memorial service - marking the 36th anniversary of the Valley Parade Fire Disaster.
Similarly to 2020, a physical memorial service, which would usually be held on May 11, will not take place in Bradford’s Centenary Square amid the ongoing threat of COVID-19.
Held in conjunction with Bradford Metropolitan District Council, the club will collectively pause from 11.00am on Tuesday May 11 to pay tribute to the 56 people who passed in the 1985 disaster.
Readings and prayers will be delivered via the club’s and council’s social media channels by a host of representatives and colleagues from across the district.
The disaster claimed the lives of 54 Bradford City supporters and two travelling Lincoln City supporters, injuring hundreds more, in one of the world’s most devastating sporting tragedies.
As COVID-19 continues to impact society, supporters are advised to adhere to government guidelines and avoid gathering in large groups, as they traditionally would, in Centenary Square on May 11.
Commemorative wreaths will be placed at the Utilita Energy Stadium and in Centenary Square, on behalf of club officials, Bradford Metropolitan District Council and Lincoln City, prior to May 11.
City’s chief executive officer, Ryan Sparks, said: “It is with regret that we are once again unable to mark the anniversary of the Valley Parade Fire Disaster as we usually would.
“The event is of huge importance to the club, our supporters, and the people of Bradford. On Tuesday May 11, as we did last year, we will once again pay tribute to those who sadly lost their lives, and the families which remain affected by the tragedy to this day.
“We invite and encourage people to pay their respects with us safely, online, and hope - having come together online again to collectively remember the 56 lives we lost - we will once again be able to gather in person next year.”
The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Cllr Doreen Lee, said: “It is with great sadness we are again not able to gather as normal at Centenary Square to mark the 36th anniversary of the Valley Parade Fire Disaster.
“However, under the current circumstances - and with the restrictions in place - it is right that the safety of the public should come first. We will once again pay our respects in a different way, but the commemoration will be no less poignant.
“We hope that people will pay their respects with us safely online, and pay tribute to those who sadly lost their lives - and the families affected by the tragedy to this day.”