PRINCE Edward visited Bradford Tree of Life Synagogue today and praised its multi-faith work in the city.

The Earl of Wessex attended a special service at the synagogue, in Manningham, attended by several Bradford faith leaders.

The Royal visit - believed to be the first time a member of the Royal family has been to a synagogue in the North of England - was in recognition of Bradford Synagogue's inter-faith work. In 2014 a fundraising effort by the local Muslim community saved the 132-year-old building from closure, hitting headlines around the world.

Unveiling a plaque commemorating his visit, Prince Edward said: "It has been brilliant to meet so many of you today, and find out about the work you are doing in a community within communities.

"Keep up the fantastic work. It's good to know there's some really positive work here in Bradford, it's a snapshot of our heritage in this country. I hope you will continue to look after this beautiful building."

Prince Edward was presented with a silver Kiddish cup by Amber Jacobs, 12, the great great great granddaughter of Joseph Strauss, the founding rabbi of Bradford Synagogue. Six generations of his family were represented at today's service.

His great grandson, Richard Stroud, said: "Bradford's Jewish population is now below 50. This synagogue is now supported by members of the Muslim community. We don't know what the future of this building is, but by being open-minded, having common values and learning from each other, Bradford can demonstrate to the world what can be done to create harmony in communities."

Bradford Synagogue is believed to be only one in the world with a member of the Muslim community - Jani Rashid - on its Council.

Mr Rashi said: "The Jewish community has an important heritage in Bradford in terms of history and contribution to industry. A lot of Bradford mills were established by Jewish wool merchants, and a lot of Muslim people worked in those mills. There is a big connection between the two communities.

"Over the last few years the synagogue has developed inter-faith relationships in the district, and today people from various faiths come here today. It was a great honour for me to be invited to be on the synagogue council."

Chairman of the synagogue, Rudi Leavor said: "The synagogue has established enormously close relations with the Muslim community.

"A few years ago we thought we might have to sell this building. I'm very proud and humbled to have this Royal visit today."

Mr Leavor said the synagogue had been re-named the Bradford Tree of Life Synagogue after the tragedy of 11 worshippers who were murdered in their ‘Tree of Life Synagogue’ in Pittsburgh, America. 

Laurence Saffer of the Jewish Leadership Council said: "Demographics suggest that many small Jewish communities outside London no longer exist. However, that bald assertion misrepresents what a Jewish community is. It is not a building or place or worship. It is a collection of people with a shared history and shared values.

"Those of us who work here are determined to ensure that the values of respect, co-operation and mutual support we share with the communities in Bradford will continue, and ensure we can all achieve our full potential and this city continues to grow thrive."