The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Doreen Lee, was in attendance at Bradford’s Christmas Stars event as people from across the district came to pay tributes to loved ones who have passed away.

The annual event was held at City Hall on Wednesday and involved people dedicating a gold star to friends and family who are no longer with us, placing it on the Christmas tree in the building’s banqueting hall.

The event was held in conjunction with Child Bereavement UK - proceeds raised were split between the charity and Pot of Gold, a fund created by the Lord Mayor herself.

Child Bereavement UK supports parents who have lost children and children who have lost parents, while Pot of Gold is a fund which allocates money to charities and individuals who have been successful in applications for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal.

The Christmas Stars event was particularly poignant for Councillor Lee, as she lost her daughter, Shelley Arda, three years ago. She dedicated a gold star to Shelley’s memory at the event.

“Christmas Stars is for people to remember their loved ones, those who aren’t going to be with us at Christmas”, Cllr Lee explained.

“It’s a very poignant time for me, because I lost my daughter. At her eulogy the first thing we said to her children was that ‘mummy is a star.’ So to put a star on the Christmas tree today for my girl means a lot.

“Everyone here is in the same boat. It’s nice that here, everyone knows what everyone else is feeling and you don’t feel like you’re on your own.”

Also at City Hall was Nicky Hodges-Rhodes, of Greengates. Nicky lost her daughter, Lillie, in 2013, when she passed away aged just four days. Lillie was the first baby in Bradford to donate a heart valve, and Nicky now runs a fundraising group, Lillie’s Grace, in her memory.

“We come to Christmas Stars every year. This is the seventh star we have put up on the tree for Lillie and it’s become a tradition. We have to thank the Lord Mayor and the Council for having us.”

Leanne Taylor, from Shipley, explained how she was at the event to place stars for several relatives that her family had lost: “This is the 11th year that we’ve come to Christmas Stars. My sons never got to meet their grandad so it’s nice for them to do this for him.”

Joyce and Keith Plows, who live in Menston, were there to pay tribute to several late relatives. Like many others, they attend the event every year: “This is part of Christmas for us”, Joyce said. “Everybody comes and we all know each other. It helps us with the healing process.”

Shirley Potts, Director of Regional Development at Child Bereavement UK, said: “Christmas is a very emotive time for people who’ve experienced a bereavement, so to do something like this is lovely.

“People can go on our website or call our helpline, if they need one-to-one support after a bereavement. We want to meet people’s needs in the best way we can. We’re extremely grateful to be here and it’s fantastic that the mayor has made us part of it”, she said.

Nicola Clarke, also of Child Bereavement UK and from Birkenshaw, said: “Events like this help to raise awareness for the services people may need after a bereavement. My role in Bradford is knitting together local organisations, whilst building a sustainable bereavement culture, so to speak.”