THE Lord Mayor of Bradford is backing the appeal to raise funds for a memorial to the city's World War One heroes.

The Honour the Pals appeal has seen Bradford Council and the Telegraph & Argus, supported by the Bradford World War One Group, team up to commemorate the Bradford Pals who fought in the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

An estimated 1,394 men ‘went over the top’ on July 1,1916 and 1,017 of them were either killed or injured in that one dreadful day.

People from across the district are being asked to donate money to help fund a new memorial, which would hopefully be unveiled in a ceremony in France to mark the centenary of the start of the battle on July 1, 2016.

The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Mike Gibbons, said he was more than happy to support the appeal, and said a commemoration to the Pals in France was "long overdue".

He said: "I think it is a great idea. I'm very happy that the initiative is under way.

"It would be wonderful to see such a commemoration and a long-overdue placement of a stone in recognition of the Bradford Pals."

Last month, the Lord Mayor was among dignitaries who turned out to pay respects to those who gave their lives in the battle.

The event is held in Bradford city centre each year on the anniversary of the Somme, July 1.

At this year's event, Cllr Gibbons gave a speech about the parents of soldiers who would have been at home, dreading a knock at the door with a telegram telling them their son had been killed.

He said: "The Bradford Pals service I attended at the cenotaph was extremely well-attended and left me in no doubt that there is still a very strong recognition of what the Pals did for Bradford and for their country.

"I think this commemorative stone would be an extension and a representation of that feeling."

The Honour the Pals appeal is also being held in memory of all those from the Bradford district who fought and died in the First World War, such as those from the Territorials and the 10th Battalion West Yorks.

Anyone who backs the appeal can also leave messages of dedication to the soldiers who fell during the First World War, including at the Somme, by filling out the special section of the Honour The Pals Appeal coupon which is printed with this story.

The messages, to be of a maximum of 50 words, will be uploaded in the special Bradford At War section.