Bradford comes together to remember its day of tragedy

Relatives of those who died at the Bradford City Fire Disaster lay wreaths at a Memorial in Centenary Square, Bradford, at the 29th Anniversary Commemoration.
Relatives of those who died at the Bradford City Fire Disaster lay wreaths at a Memorial in Centenary Square, Bradford, at the 29th Anniversary Commemoration.
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IT was supposed to be a day of celebration.

IT was supposed to be a day of celebration.

Thousands of fans had packed into Valley Parade to see Bradford City presented with the Third Division championship trophy ahead of the club’s last game of the season against Lincoln City.

It was the first time Bradford had returned to the Second Division since the Second World War.

But 54 Bradford fans and two Lincoln supporters never returned home and more suffered serious injuries.

A fire which started shortly before half-time swept through the wooden main stand with devastating results.

More than 200 people were taken to hospital on the day of the fire.

The blaze was captured on television and the images remain etched into the memories of all those who watched them in horror 29 years ago.

Yesterday, the anniversary of those awful events was marked with a ceremony in Bradford.

Players from the current Bradford City team were joined by fans and civic dignitaries in Bradford’s Centenary Square for a minute’s silence and a service to remember the horrific events of May 11, 1985.

Bradford City chaplain the Rev Andy Grieff led the service, which included the laying of a number of wreaths around the memorial and a reading from current Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson.

Fans also left flowers at a memorial at the stadium.

The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Khadim Hussain, laid a wreath on behalf of the city and district.

Crowds gathered around the memorial sculpture in the square and the City Hall bells played Abide With Me and You’ll Never Walk Alone.

The wider football world expressed its sympathy with those affected.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter said on Twitter: “My thoughts this morning are with those who lost loved ones in Bradford 29 years ago today.”

The Football Association sent its condolences to all those affected by the tragedy and the flag of St George flew at half-mast at Wembley.

Bradford East Lib Dem MP David Ward tweeted: “Great turnout from Bradford public for City fire memorial event - always deeply moving event.”

The investigation into the Bradford City fire led to major changes in the rules on football ground safety.