Those who perished in Bradford City's fire disaster, which claimed 56 lives, were remembered over the Easter weekend.

The Valley Parade Memorial Tournament, which has been held every years since 1986 - one year after the fire tragedy - took place on Saturday and Sunday.

Held at Marley Activities and Coaching Centre in Keighley, youngsters from local sides including Bradford City, Sandy Lane and Silsden, took on sides from Germany and Ireland.

Lincoln City also fielded sides in the Under-12s and Under-14s competition.

The memorial tournament was the brainchild of former Bradford Council chief recreation officer Howell Williams, but since 2000 lifelong Bradford City fan and Council worker Carl Dalton has organised the event.

The event is especially poignant for Carl who was in the main stand on the fateful day of May 11, 1985, when Bradford City took on Lincoln City.

The day should have been one of celebration as then City captain Peter Jackson was presented with the Division Three championship trophy.

But tragedy struck just before half-time as a blaze engulfed the main stand.

Carl, who is manager of the Sport and Leisure Service's Community Play and Activities Development Unit, said: "The tournament helps preserve the memory of those who died, provides us with an opportunity to reflect on what happened that day, and also lets us celebrate our future footballers.

"While the tournament was born out of a tragedy that will always be remembered, it also gives us chance to look forward and see young footballers enjoying the tournament and it shows how sport can unite people."

Carl was delighted City boss Stuart McCall paid his respects on Saturday as he watched his son play in the Under-12s game against Germany's Hamm side, which beat Bradford 2-1.

Players from Bradford City also presented trophies, along with Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Elaine Byrom He added: "The whole tournament is to remember this tragedy but it also gives children the opportunity to take part to celebrate friendship through football. While there is an element of competition, the tournament also gives youngsters the opportunity to have fun."

Bradford City won the under-14s section, beating Bradford Park Avenue 6-0 in the final. City's under-12s went down to Hamm in their final in extra time after a 1-1 draw in normal time. City Ladies won their competition, beating Park Avenue ladies 3-1 on penalties after the final had ended 0-0.


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