Every year, as we approach the end of a football season, our thoughts turn to a tragic event from 35 years ago.
We will never forget the 56, nor will Lincoln City fans ever stop raising money for the Bradford Burns Unit. In the past, I did work with Lenny the City Gent from Bradford to help him raise money and Vital Lincoln City looks to do something every year, which they are doing right now. Jules is hoping to raise £500 through his site, something I’m more than happy to help promote.
It also came to my attention that a poignant and emotional attempt is also being made by Will Stacey. Will’s name may well sound familiar and so it should; it is his family name that forms part of our site title. We’re called The Stacey West after the end of the ground I spent much of my life, which in turn is named after the two fans from Lincoln who tragically lost their lives that day. Will is Bill Stacey’s great grandson and he’s been moved to try to help make a difference. The term ‘Stacey West’ has become such a part of Lincoln City history now that I didn’t originally consider whether it might be offensive that I use the name, but Will’s family were great and didn’t mind one bit.
Will is looking to raise £500 for the Bradford Burns Unit also; he’s going to be doing a 24-hour video game marathon, streamed on Twitch, on May 9th, just two days before the 35th anniversary of the tragic events. After donating the profit from the site this month, I spoke briefly to Will about his challenge and what he hopes to achieve.
“As a fan and a family member who’s been affected by the tragedy that happened on May 11th 1985 I feel like there’s no better way to pay my respects personally than doing this 24-hour gaming session,” he said.
“In December 2018 I finally went to the memorial site at Valley Parade to pay my respects, ever since then I’ve been wondering how I could raise money and with COVID-19 around there’s no better time to do it. During the stream, I will hold a 1-minute silence at 3 pm to remember the 56 that never came home that day. All money that I raise will be going to the Bradford Burns Unit.”
We are all part of a football family, people of different surnames, different backgrounds, but all brought together under the Lincoln City banner. Something deep inside is stirred when I hear the words ‘went to football and never came home’, a sorrowful emotion that I’m sure is shared amongst each and every single one of us. On that tragic day almost 35 years ago, and for many months afterwards, the men and women of the Bradford Burns Unit were heroes to many. We must never forget the 56, nor those who worked tirelessly in the aftermath to help people injured by the fire.
Good luck Will.
Please, if you have anything to spare at all, lets help Will towards his £500 target for a cause that I’m sure we all feel is hugely important. You can find his Just Giving page here.