Bradford marks 36th anniversary of Valley Parade fire disaster with virtual memorial service

Bradford City Fire memorial 36th anniversary
Credit: Courtesy Bradford City Council

The city of Bradford has today marked the 36th anniversary of the Valley Parade fire, which claimed  the lives of 56 football fans. 

The blaze broke out in the main stand during Bradford's last home game of the season against Lincoln City, on May the 11th 1985. More than 250 fans were also injured in one of the country's worst football stadium disasters.

Charred exit gates in the main stand at Bradford City's Valley Parade stadium, where 56 people died Credit: Press Association

A virtual service was streamed by Bradford Council this morning to commemorate those who died. It took place online instead of in Centenary Square due to coronavirus restrictions.

Held in conjunction with Bradford Metropolitan District Council, the club paused from 11.00am to pay tribute to those who lost their lives.

Wreaths were also laid privately at the memorial on behalf of the club, Bradford Council and Lincoln City.

Readings, prayers, memories, reflections and tributes were also posted on social media. Here is a selection of some of them.

Bradford 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

Revd Canon Paul Maybury, Precentor at Bradford Cathedral, said:  "We stand with the City and District as we honour those who were taken from us on that fateful day and hope and pray that the short recorded memorial service will provide us all with comfort and hope."

The Bradford City Football Club flag was flown on the City Hall roof at half mast and bells at the clock tower will play Abide With Me and You will Never walk alone.

The tower will also be illuminated in claret and amber light as a tribute this evening.