TWO MUMS are urging schools to hold a claret and amber day to raise money for the Bradford Burns Unit.

Michelle Rowntree and Julie Sharpe believe children across Bradford district should be aware of the Valley Parade fire disaster and its significance.

So far, following a campaign on Facebook, Twitter and email, 25 schools have signed up to do their own claret and amber day.

Michelle, whose eight-year-old son Archie is a season ticket holder at Valley Parade with Julie's son Ethan, nine, said: "All we are asking is that the schools embrace this 30th anniversary year to raise valuable funds for the burns unit.

"It also gives the children a sense of ownership for something local."

The fire tragedy holds particular poignancy for Michelle's family, as her husband Stuart's uncle Samuel Firth was the oldest victim. Her dad Walter Whitaker, who takes Archie and Ethan to games, was also at Valley Parade on the day of the fire.

"It is very poignant for us, and important that the 56 are remembered," said Michelle, 42, of Eccleshill. "Our children remember and it is important that other children remember and learn about the impact the burns unit has had."

Ajay Mahajan, director of the burns unit, said: "The 'Wear Claret and Amber Day' is such a nice idea to raise funds for our unit. Going out to the children in schools will obviously help create awareness about the Bradford fire in them, but will also sow the seeds of scientific research in their minds, by letting them know about the work of our research unit.

"We at the Plastic Surgery and Burns Research Unit (PSBRU) are very grateful to the younger generation for supporting our cause. This will help us to continue our valuable research work to help improve healthcare for their future."

Michelle said the idea came after one of her work colleagues told her about a claret and amber day held at St Anthony's Primary School on High Busy Lane, Shipley.

"Each day more and more are joining up," said Michelle. "We hope it will have a snowball effect, if one joins up another will."

The schools signed up to do their own claret and amber day are: Wellington Primary, Bradford; St Luke's Primary, Bradford; Blakehill Primary, Bradford; Immanuel College, Bradford; Sandal, Baildon; Aire View, Keighley; High Crags, Shipley; Grove House Primary, Bradford; St Francis Primary, Bradford; Wilsden Primary; Bingley Grammar; St Brendan's Primary, Bradford; Southfield School, Bradford; Woodlands, Oakenshaw; Swain House Primary, Bradford; Thackley Primary; Park Primary, Bradford; Idle Primary; and Home Farm Primary, Bradford.

Immanuel College is encouraging pupils to wear a City shirt, scarf, hat or badge on May 6 in return for a donation of £1.

A spokesman for the school said: "This anniversary is significantly poignant for us as a school and one specifically close to the hearts of two of our staff members - the headteacher's PA Jane Gray, whose father Jack Ludlam died in the fire, and her daughter Ellie Gray."

Meanwhile, 300 extra copies of a commemorative edition of the Bradford City fanzine, The City Gent, have been printed after the original batch of 1,000 sold out.

The issue, which is the 200th edition of the fanzine, features poignant articles written by people who experienced the Bradford fire disaster.

Editor Mike Harrison sold the fanzine at last Saturday's City game against Barnsley at Valley Parade.

He said: "We sold every copy of CG200 that we could carry to the stadium on Saturday. I even had to go home ad get some more just after kick-off and I missed City's goal. We sold all the extra ones as well.

"It looks like we've raised £1,100 so far."

Mr Harrison, who gave a talk at Bradford Grammar School yesterday, plans to have the new batch of fanzines available for sale at City's game against Crewe on Sunday. He also hopes to be able to sell them at the Bradford Literature Festival later this month.

The fanzine features 11 articles, including one by former editor Brian Fox, telling of the terrible injuries his parents suffered in the fire. Another one, by Andrew Flett, tells of a scarf he has in his loft and its links to the fateful day.

Mr Harrison, who wrote one of the articles himself, said: “I was overwhelmed by the response and the articles that I received are extremely moving but also reflect the general thoughts of Bradford City fans regarding the events that took place that fateful day.

“I also had to write the hardest non-football editorial that I have ever had to write, given the revelation of ‘coincidences’ last week following the launch of Martin Fletcher’s book and the upset that it has caused.”

He added: “I still think it is very difficult for people to write about it – people still find it difficult to talk about it 30 years on.

“I found it very hard to write my article. It was something I had to write and it was not easy.”

Mr Harrison, now 53, was 23 at the time of the fire and was in the stand opposite. He said he didn’t want Martin Fletcher’s story to be the only story.

“There are thousands of others,” said Mr Harrison. “People who lost people, hundreds that got burnt, thousands who witnessed it that did not want to be there witnessing it.

“We wanted to get across other people’s thoughts and reflections and I think that is what we have done.”

City Gent issue 200 costs £2, but with £1 from each copy sold going to the burns unit.