A MULTI-cultural festive tree in Bradford is sending a united message of peace and togetherness this Christmas.

Adorned with bright baubles, the tree can be seen standing tall in Centenary Square, opposite the historic City Hall.

In a world facing grief, pain, and conflict, it's hoped the tree will send a poignant reminder about Bradford’s strong multicultural friendships.

It is a symbol of how communities and businesses from different faiths and backgrounds live and work together.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Crowd by the multi-faith tree in Bradford city centreCrowd by the multi-faith tree in Bradford city centre (Image: Newsquest)

The fir tree adds to the traditional Christmas tree lighting up the city during dark winter days.

It has been sponsored by 40 businesses and organisations across the district. 

The festive sight has come to life thanks to West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce’s BAME Business Committee.

It was a special moment for Saleem Kader, managing director at Bombay Stores and BAME committee member.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Shamsuddin Ahmed adds a bauble to the treeShamsuddin Ahmed adds a bauble to the tree (Image: Newsquest)

After many late nights, Mr Kader helped unveil the tree alongside representatives from different religions.

As part of the ceremony, four baubles were added to the tree by Manoj Joshi DL MBE, Nirmal Singh MBE, vicar John Bavington, and Shamsuddin Ahmed.

Speaking at the ceremony in front of the tree, Mr Kader said: “Sometimes we take for granted what we actually have in our city: the great entrepreneurial spirit, the young population, and especially for me the multiculturalism in our population.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Manoj Joshi DL MBE, picturedManoj Joshi DL MBE, pictured (Image: Newsquest)

"In a world that’s often divided you only have to look around and realise how well we host people from so many backgrounds and cultures and are able to live in perfect harmony, enjoying each other’s cultures, foods and festivities.

"The tree symbolises this in many ways. So many organisations got together to show unity and remind people of this. 

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Businesses and organisations from across Bradford helped bring the tree to lifeBusinesses and organisations from across Bradford helped bring the tree to life (Image: Newsquest)

“Bradford is often criticised. We, the BAME business committee, are on a mission to highlight the positives and the amazing thing is we don’t have to create anything,  as most of the success is already here.

"The problem is we don’t tell people about them. The city has a history of economic success which over the years has emerged as a successful and entrepreneurial city, buzzing with so many brands. 

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Rev Bavington, who works across Great Horton and Lidget GreenRev Bavington, who works across Great Horton and Lidget Green (Image: Newsquest)

“Today’s agenda is about true strength, which is multiculturalism. We will be using every opportunity to tell the world how well we do this.”

Mr Joshi, a well-known philanthropist, businessman, and pharmacist, sent a powerful message. 

“Co-existence or no existence,” he said.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Baubles were added to the tree - Shamsuddin Ahmed and Saleem Kader are picturedBaubles were added to the tree - Shamsuddin Ahmed and Saleem Kader are pictured (Image: Newsquest)

Speaking to the crowd, he said: “Being a minority within a minority, as a Hindu in Bradford, today I feel absolutely included. And I’ve always felt included. That is the history and legacy of Bradford, but the future of Bradford. The future of Bradford is about living, working and enjoying ourselves in love, peace and harmony. This is the evidence.

“This festive period of Christmas is an opportunity for all of us to come and celebrate the joy and love we share.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The multi-faith tree was celebrated in a series of speeches on Wednesday, December 6The multi-faith tree was celebrated in a series of speeches on Wednesday, December 6 (Image: Newsquest)

Gill Arnold JPDL, chairman of the West Yorkshire bench of Magistrates, shared her joy at witnessing the event.

“It’s inclusive,” she said. 

“We’ve much more in common than we’ve not. You can see, by the people who’ve turned up here, the warmth, the good relationships between us all.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Nirmal Singh MBE adds a bauble to the multi-faith tree Nirmal Singh MBE adds a bauble to the multi-faith tree (Image: Newsquest)

Rev Bavington, who set out to build bridges between Bradford’s communities when he first arrived in the city as an Urdu-speaking vicar, spoke about the bible.

“Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus. One of the teachings of Jesus is we should love our neighbour.

"The arrival of Jesus is the moment of the arrival of that message. His arrival is the epitome of showing what it means to love your neighbour. Christians believe Jesus was the epitome of love.”

Tree sponsors

  1. Platinum Partnership Solicitors
  2. Jinnah Restaurant
  4. Schofield Sweeney LLP
  5. Tutor Doctor Bradford Huddersfield
  6. Fairmount Properties
  7. Willmott Dixon Construction Ltd
  8. IK Collections
  10. Love in Care
  11. Chadwick Lawrence
  12. Adams Foodservice Trading Ltd
  13. Bradford Breakthrough
  14. Incommunities
  15. Bradford Grammar School
  16. Britannia Care
  17. Bradford UK City of Culture
  19. A & S Leisure Group Ltd
  20. LCF LAW
  21. Blacks Solicitors
  22. Telegraph & Argus
  23. African and Caribbean Business Ventures
  24. Culture City Radio
  25. Brookfield Construction Group Limited
  26. National Science and Media Museum
  27. Azets
  28. Bradford 2025
  29. Latitude Bradford Ltd
  30. Rajas
  31. Quantuma Advisory Limited
  32. Nasreen Karim
  33. Palm Cove Society
  34. Palm Cove Society
  35. Palm Cove Society
  36. Palm Cove Society
  37. Ashrock Estates
  38. Brookwater Accountants Ltd
  39. University of Bradford
  40. Sekhon Group