Memorial Tournament to honour Bradford City fire disaster, 7-8 April 2012
Published on: 28th March 2012
This year's Valley Parade Memorial Tournament, which is held to honour those who lost their lives in the Bradford City fire disaster, will take place for the 27th time over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.
The football competition has run every year since 1986, one year after the fire tragedy claimed 56 lives on 11 May 1985 when Bradford City played against Lincoln City.
Youngsters from local junior clubs across the district will take on teams fromBradford City, Lincoln City and international teams from Germany and Ireland at Marley Activities and Coaching Centre, Keighley, on Saturday, 7 April and Sunday, 8 April.
The tournament is organised by Bradford Council's Sport and Leisure Service and the Prison Officers' Association, which founded the event after prison officers were motivated by the concern and sadness shared by those affected.
One of the main features of the tournament is that every year there is a steady flow of new youngsters coming along to play. It has seen more than 10,000 participants take part since 1986 and, in doing so, individuals have been given the opportunity to remember those who lost their lives at Valley Parade on that fateful day.
The tournament was founded by Howell Williams, Bradford Council’s former Chief Recreation Officer, but since 2000 it has been organised by lifelong Bantams fan and Council employee Carl Dalton.
The competition is especially poignant for Carl, who was in the main stand when City took on Lincoln in the final game of the season.
Carl, who is the Council’s Community Play and Activities Development Unit Manager, 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 the chance to look forward and see young footballers enjoying the matches. It shows how sport can unite people."
For further information please contact Carl Dalton, Bradford Council's Community Play and Activities Development Unit Manager, on 01274 435495.