One of Bradford's most iconic sporting venues will close its doors for the final time at the end of current rugby season following the news that Bulls are set to leave Odsal and move to Dewsbury while they seek to establish a new home in the city.

Odsal Stadium, which has been the Bradford club’s base since 1934, has witnessed some of rugby league's most iconic moments, including a world record crowd of 102,575 in the Challenge Cup final replay 65 years ago.

But the high six-figure annual maintenance costs are proving too much for the Bulls to bear, on top of a rent of £72,000 paid to landlords the RFL, leaving the club with only one option, to leave the Odsal venue.

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Saying farewell, we asked our readers to send us their own memories of the famous old stadium. Whether it be the record breaking crowds, pitch problems, or one of the many rugby league triumphs, we wanted to hear from you.

One reader rang the office recalling a time when the stadium had been used for something other than a sporting event– The Bradford Catholic Pageant – In celebration of the Queen’s Coronation.

On June 14, 1953, after months of preparation Odsal Stadium had been turned into a religious ground for more than 30,000 Roman Catholics. According to the Telegraph & Argus, with only half of the expected capacity, the pageant was still “a religious thrill…a most impressive spectacle and an event of high educational value.”

Loud bursts of cheering had greeted the Bishop of Leeds, the Right Reverend Major John Carmel Heenan, as he was driven in an open car round the stadium, dressed in scarlet ropes, before taking his seat in the main stand to watch the portrayal of events from the coming to Britain of St. Augustine to the present.

The Bishop was himself the central figure of the sixth and final episode of the pageant, walking halfway around a square of Bradford school children, to place the long arm of a cross on to dais, while a 200-strong choir sang “Land Of Hope And Glory.”

“The moments were of impressive solemnity as the scarlet clad figure advanced to the platform in the centre of a colourful tapestry of costumes of ages past,” reported the Telegraph and Argus.

After prayers for the Queen and England came an address by the Bishop and then the dramatic moment when only his voice sounded in blessing the thousands.

As a “curtain raiser to the pageant,” spectators saw first a procession of May Queens from Bradford parishes, followed by a choir and then two mounted Crusaders with pages who “taped” an outline of England and Wales on the ground.

Inside the outline groups Saxons took up their positions, while the court of Ethelbert was set up in the South. Odin was being worshipped in the North and St. Augustine was seen to enter near the Isle of Thanet, establishing Christianity in the South. The next stage of the pageant depicted the conversion of Edwin of Northumbria by St. Paulinus who then sent a selection of missionaries to the other groups.

Model abbeys were also carried into the arena for the third chapter showing the work of monks and friars, whilst the choir sang beautifully, only pausing for the entry of Henry VIII’s soldiers and the despoiling of monasteries and arrests. At the end, all departed the area (including the masked executioner and a boy carrying a block) leaving only the cross set up by St. Augustine and a single flare.

The fourth episode jumped nearly three centuries for the return of Roman Catholicism to Bradford and the establishment of parishes shown by the girls from St Joseph’s College.

In his address the Bishop stated that despite all that history had done to uproot the Catholic religion “here we are in Bradford with the grace of God stronger than ever before.” The Church he continued, had recovered from the blows of Henry VIII, but it was Elizabeth I who “did to death the ancient faith. It is because this can never happen in the new Elizabethan age that thousands are so moved and so delighted to express their loyalty to our young Queen.”

Among the spectators were the Lord Mayor of Bradford (Coun Angus Crowther) the Lady Mayoress (Miss Anne Crowther), Lord Calverley, Deputy Lord Lieutenant for the West Riding, Lady Calverley, and civic representatives from Keighley, Pudsey, Brighouse, Baildon, Spenborough, Shipley, Cleckheaton and Spen Valley.

The weather wasn’t very favourable that weekend, but that didn’t stop the thousands of spectators from enjoying the festivities. According to our reader, one of the most memorable parts of the pageant were the animals that had been tethered up behind the scenes and kept escaping. Most of the afternoon was spent checking that they were still all in one place. Hopefully their intention was not for the chopping block.