A memorial service marking the 37th anniversary of the Valley Parade Fire Disaster will be held tomorrow - in conjunction with Bradford Metropolitan District Council.
Taking place in Centenary Square, Bradford on May 11, by the Bradford City Fire Memorial, the service will be the first of its kind since 2019 following two years of online activity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning at 11.00am, the service will be attended by relatives and friends of the 56 people who lost their lives in 1985, as well as club and council officials and members of the public.
The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Cllr Shabir Hussain, will host a Civic Party from Lincoln who will also attend the service together, with Mark Hughes and City’s first-team players and staff in attendance.
The Act of Commemoration will begin with 'Abide with Me' and 'You'll Never Walk Alone', with the service to be conducted by Rev Canon Paul Maybury, Acting Dean at Bradford Cathedral.
He will be assisted by Bradford City AFC club chaplain, Pastor Oliver Evans, while a blessing will be given by the Right Reverend Toby Howarth, Bishop of Bradford.
Lord-Lieutenant Mr. Ed Anderson, CBE will lay a wreath on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen followed by Cllr Hussain on behalf of the City and district, and chief executive officer Ryan Sparks on behalf of Bradford City AFC.
Wreaths will also be laid by the Mayor of Lincoln, Prof. Ajay Mahajan on behalf of Bradford's Plastic Surgery and Burns Research Unit and bereaved families and the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service. Once these wreaths have been laid, others who wish to lay their own wreaths or floral tributes are welcome to do so.
The disaster claimed the lives of 54 Bradford City supporters and two travelling Lincoln supporters, injuring hundreds more, in one of the world’s most devastating sporting tragedies.
Sparks, said: “We are pleased to once again be in a position to remember the 56 lives lost on 11th May 1985 in person, with the return of a traditional memorial service.
“After the past couple of years we have had, in holding digital services in conjunction with Bradford Metropolitan District Council as a result of the pandemic, it is hugely important for us to be able to pay our respects to those who sadly lost their lives, and the families which remain affected by the tragedy to this day, in the most fitting way possible.
“We invite and encourage people to join us in Centenary Square on Wednesday May 11, as we come together to collectively pay tribute to the 56 lives we lost 37 years ago.”
Cllr Hussain said: “It is important to the city and district that we take time to remember those who were affected, and those who continue to be affected, by the tragic events on 11th May 1985.
“This year will be even more poignant, as we can come together in person to remember.”
The JCT600 Family Stand at the Utilita Energy Stadium will be open tomorrow to allow supporters to visit and observe personal reflection time.
The Yorkshire Payments 1911 Main Reception, Box Office and The City Shop will all be closed between 9.00am and 1.00pm, and then open from 1.00pm until 5.00pm, to allow club staff to attend the service.