“It was over 32 years ago (1981) when my father took me to see my first football match at Valley Parade. Sadly this was the only game we saw together before he passed away. Thanks to his work colleagues, who kindly took me under their wing, I carried on attending.
“I know he would have been as thrilled and happy as myself for last season’s incredible achievements, the best in my memory. ‘A dream’ and ‘sensational’ are words that spring to mind.
“It was for this reason I decided to commission Paul Town, a Football Stadium artist and fellow Bradford City fan to paint this canvas as a thank you to all the players, staff and management at Bradford City. Paul has worked from an original 1950’s print and photographs to create an impression of Valley Parade as my father and many others would have remembered it - including the advertisement for Hey’s brewery that was located on nearby Lumb Lane. The painting also features the Bradford City locomotive, which regularly roared past the ground - the original locomotive nameplate is on display in the main entrance at Valley Parade. As well as loving football, by father was a keen steam train enthusiast and had one of the largest collections and displays in the north of England (most of which now is in the National Railway Museum at York). I take after him for my love of football and trains!
“Throughout the season I’ve made a great many new friends and spent much of my free time at the club. I’ve always been made to feel so welcome. I’m sure that like myself and many others, my father would have been so proud of our club. A big thank you to Bradford AFC and to all the people I’ve met along the way.”
For the artist the painting has been a labour of love. The Baildon based builder recently began depicting football grounds and has produced and sold several paintings of grounds as diverse as Sunderland’s Roker Park, Heart of Midlothian’s Tynecastle and Tottenham Hotspur’s White Hart Lane. Paul said:
“It has been a real honour to be commissioned to paint this piece for the Bradford City museum by lifelong City supporter Kathryn Hey.
“I am myself a city supporter of nearly 40 years and found the research to produce this greatly satisfying. In coordination with both Kathryn, and bantamspast museum’s David Pendleton, we together came up with a design based upon how Valley Parade and the surrounding areas would have looked around the 1940s. I hope to produce many more period paintings of Valley Parade in the future which hopefully will be of interest to all diehard city supporters both young and old. My artwork can be viewed on my Facebook page, Stadium Portraits Paul Town.”
The painting will be on display in the bantamspast museum, currently housed in Bantams Bar on the Kop, in time for the start of the new season. The museum’s David Pendleton said:
“We are delighted to receive this donation from Kathryn. It is a very kind gift and we thank both Kathryn and Paul for the painting, which we hope will be enjoyed by many City fans this season and beyond. It is a wonderful way to mark the unforgettable 2012/13 season.”