The 29th anniversary of the Bradford City Fire Disaster was marked with a sombre service today.
At the stroke of 11am the bells at City Hall played the hymn Abide With Me and the anthem You'll Never Walk Alone to mark the enduring memory of a tragedy which claimed 56 lives and left many more with terrible injuries when fire swept though a stand at Valley Parade on May 11, 1985.
The service, attended by a number of City players and many relatives of those killed or injured, was held at the Memorial Sculpture in Centenary Square.
Prayers were led by the chaplain to Bradford City, the Reverend Andy Grieff.
Also in attendance were the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Khadim Hussain, and the Lincoln Mayor and Mayoress, Councillor Patrick Vaughan and Lorna Stow.
Opening the service Mr Grieff thanked people for attending "as we take the time to come aside to remember those who lost their lives and those who were left behind to pick up the pieces on that tragic day of May 11, 1985.”
City manager Phil Parkinson read a passage from the Bible.
After the service, he said: “It is important that the city of Bradford remembers the people who lost their lives and all their families.”
The disaster took place when the Bantams were playing their last home match of a promotion-winning season against Lincoln City.
Amomg the wreaths laid at the Memorial Sculpture were those by the Lord Mayor of Bradford and the Mayor of Lincoln, by officers in West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, and, most poignantly, by bereaved families.
Gerry Sutcliffe, Labour MP for Bradford South and a former Sports Minister, attended the service.
Afterwards he said: “It’s been 29 years, but it’s still good to see we get the level of support that we do.
“There’s a great deal of pride that people can come together and unite in remembering those that died and were injured.”
Mr Sutcliffe said preparations were already under way for a big commemoration on the 30th anniversary of the tragedy, and that discussions had already taken place with the Premier League and the Football League.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter today took to Twitter to write: “My thoughts this morning are with those who lost loved ones in Bradford 29 years ago today.”
And Bradford East Liberal Democrat MP David Ward tweeted: “Great turnout from Bradford public for City fire memorial event - always deeply moving event.”