A sad and solemn commemoration is taking place in Bradford today (Tuesday, 26 Feb) as official figures show that the district has passed the milestone of 1,001 deaths from Covid-19 related causes.

1,001 electric candles will be lit around the steps of City Hall as a stark reminder of how the pandemic has caused grief and anguish among all communities in the district.

It will take place at 4.45pm. The City Hall flag will be lowered to half-mast, and hospitals will join in with lights at their entrances or in the chapel at Airedale.

Bradford Council Leader Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost their lives to Covid-19 and with the families and friends who have lost loved ones.

“We must take a moment to pause, reflect and remember not only the lives sadly lost, but also to thank those working in the NHS helping patients suffering from the effects of the virus.

“We are still in a critical period in the battle to beat Covid-19 and we need to do everything we can to minimise its spread.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to take all the precautions they can and help to keep our communities and our NHS staff safe.

“The more people who stay at home, and the more people who think carefully and focus on hands, face, space if they do need to go out, the better we can fight to conquer Covid-19.  The roll-out of the vaccinations can’t come soon enough.

“It is only by following the guidelines can we hope to try and avoid more memorial ceremonies like this one.”

Conservative Group Leader Cllr Rebecca Poulsen said: “On behalf of the Conservative Group I would like to add my condolences to all that have lost loved ones, friends and colleagues.

“We all know people who have been affected and on this sad day marking 1001 deaths we should take time to remember all the people we have lost.

“We thank all those on the front line battling this virus, particularly the NHS staff.

“Having vaccinations rolling out across the district is really positive news and I would encourage everyone to take up the vaccine as soon as they are contacted.”

Councillor Jeanette Sunderland on behalf of the Liberal Democrat and Independent Group, said: “Every life lost leaves a precious memory of the past and a loss for the future.

“Too many families have an empty place at their table. The front line needs us to be mindful at all times so we can save lives and reduce the pressure on everyone who makes sure life can carry on.

“It’s up to all of us to work together to stay safe and to make sure others do too.”

Despite the optimism generated by the vaccine roll out, people are being urged more than ever to follow the Government and NHS guidelines to avoid contracting or spreading the infection.

Further information about how to stay safe from Covid-19 is contained on the Bradford Council website at www.bradford.gov.uk