Leeds & West Yorkshire

Bradford City fire 30th anniversary memorial service takes place

Memorial service at Centenary Square
Image caption The Bradford City squad joined hundreds of people in Centenary Square to remember the disaster 30 years ago

Hundreds have attended a memorial service to mark the 30th anniversary of a fatal fire which ripped through Bradford City's home ground.

The blaze broke out during the 1985 match against Lincoln City, killing 54 Bradford City fans, two Lincoln fans and injuring many more.

Hundreds attended the service in Centenary Square, including the current Bradford squad.

Bells tolled for each victim as their name was read out during the ceremony.

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Media captionBBC Look North weather forecaster Paul Hudson was at Valley Parade when the fire broke out

A minute's silence was followed by an operatic rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone.

Victoria Sharp of Opera North was accompanied by the City of Bradford Brass Band as she sang the football anthem.

Bradford Lord Mayor Mike Gibbons laid the first wreath on the memorial, followed by other dignitaries, and relatives of some of the victims.

Image caption The City Hall clock struck 56 times as the names of the fire victims were read out

Fire engines parked on Centenary Square and a garland of flowers was placed on the Memorial Bell at the top of City Hall's civic staircase.

The bell belonged to the first fire engine to arrive at the scene of the blaze and was donated to the city by the fire service.

Football League Chief Executive Shaun Harvey, Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson, and captain Stephen Darby were also there.

The 1985 fire is thought to have been started accidentally when a lit cigarette was dropped under a wooden stand.

Peter Jackson, captain of Bradford City on the day of the fire, said it had been a "horrendous" day.

"You could see the fire just spreading on the top of the stand," he said.

"People were still watching [the game], looking this way and they didn't realise that the fire was raging above them."

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Image caption More than 250 people were injured in the 1985 fire at Bradford City's Valley Parade stadium

Lord Mayor Mr Gibbons said: "The Bradford City fire lives long in the memories of the people of Bradford.

"I feel it is very important that we as a city take time each year to remember those who lost their lives or were injured by this tragic event, which continues to touch the lives of so many in our district."

The day had started in celebration, marking Bradford City's return to the second tier of English football for the first time in decades, with players parading the old Division Three trophy around the ground before kick-off.

Image caption Wreaths and floral tributes were laid on the Bradford City fire memorial at Centenary Square

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