The 38th anniversary of the Valley Parade Fire Disaster takes place tomorrow (11/05).
The service, which is attended by the relatives and friends of those who lost their lives or were injured, together with local people, will take place at the Bradford City Fire Memorial sculpture in Centenary Square. It will start at 11am on Thursday, 11 May and will remember the 56 people who died in the disaster in 1985.
The service will start at 11am with the City Hall clock bells playing ‘Abide with Me’ and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ to mark the start of the Act of Commemoration. The service will be conducted by the Dean of Bradford, The Very Reverend Andy Bowerman, assisted by Pastor Oliver Evans, Chaplain to Bradford City AFC. A blessing will be given by the Right Reverend Toby Howarth, Bishop of Bradford.
The Lord-Lieutenant will lay a wreath on behalf of His Majesty The King, followed by the Lord Mayor of Bradford Cllr Martin Love on behalf of the City and District. Wreaths will also be laid by the High Sheriff, the Mayor of Lincoln, representatives of Bradford City AFC and Lincoln City FC, Prof. Ajay Mahajan on behalf of the Burns Research Unit, bereaved families and representatives of the emergency services. Once these wreaths have been laid, others who wish to lay their own wreaths or floral tributes are welcome to do so.
Bradford City were playing Lincoln City in their last home match of the season when the disaster claimed the lives of 54 Bradford City supporters and two travelling Lincoln supporters, injuring hundreds more.
Lord Mayor of Bradford Cllr Martin Love 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 service will be particularly poignant for me as I was one of the 11,000 at Valley Parade on that day. I hope people will join us in Centenary Square as we come together to pay tribute.”
The club’s chief executive officer, Ryan Sparks, said: “After the return of a physical memorial service for the first time since before the pandemic last year, we will once again come together to remember the 56 lives lost on 11th May 1985 in person.
“As with each and every year, it is hugely important for us to be able to pay our respects to those who sadly lost their lives, and the families who remain affected by the Valley Parade Fire Disaster to this day, in the most fitting way possible.
“This year, of course, the service will be made even more poignant following the sad passing of two hugely significant figures linked to the tragedy recently, who all of us at Bradford City hold so very dear.
“It is important that this year, while we honour all those affected by the disaster on the 38th anniversary, we also pay tribute to Professor David Sharpe OBE, founder of Bradford’s Plastic Surgery and Burns Research Unit (PSBRU), and Jockel Reisner, who designed the Bradford City Fire Memorial which stands in Centenary Square.
“We invite and encourage people to join us in the City Centre on Thursday May 11, as we come together to collectively pay our respects.”