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On the 11th May 1985, 54 Bradford City supporters, and two Lincoln City fans, lost their lives after a fire ravaged through Valley Parade.

Since that date, the victims of the blaze have never been forgotten with respects paid every year to mark the anniversary of the disaster.

This weekend, the 29th Valley Parade Memorial Tournament will be held at Bradford Council’s Marley Activities and Coaching Centre between the dates of 19th and 20th April.

Youngsters play in memory of those who lost their lives in Bradford fire

Youngsters play in memory of those who lost their lives in Bradford fire

The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Khadim Hussain, will be at the tournament to watch teams from the Bradford district, Lincoln and across Europe, compete for trophies.

Among the teams competing will be under 12's and under 14's teams from Bradford City, Bingley, Sandy Lane, BPA, Campion, Queensbury, BD3 United and Silsden, whilst two centre of excellence teams from Lincoln, and a team from the German city of Hamm, which is twinned with Bradford, will also compete.

The memorial tournament was the brainchild of former Bradford Council chief recreation officer Howell Williams, and has been held every year since 1986.

Lifelong Bradford City fan and Bradford Council employee Carl Dalton, who was in the main stand on the day, took over organising the event in 2000 and has been instrumental in the 'friendship through football' event growing each year.

Carl, who is also the manager of Bradford Council’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. It shows how sport can unite people.”

Since 1986 over 12,000 participants have taken part in the tournament which is organised by Bradford Council's Sport and Leisure Service and sponsored by the Prison Officers' Association.

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