The launch of the 'City Park' in the heart of Bradford was a joy to behold. Tens of thousands of people came to enjoy the fountains and the firework show. I really hope that Westfield had its spies out, as they would have realised that Bradford is a force to be reckoned with, and is a great place to invest in.
But the event was wonderfully Bradfordian for a number of reasons. The first was that hundreds of folk came down to protest about the Odeon building. Most people were baffled by the local governments decision to 'shield' the Odeon and its towers from view. The sheeting however provided an excellent screen on which to project some wonderful messages of support for the much loved building - a typical bit of Bradfordian imagination!
The other highlight of the day was the opening of the 'Handmade' shop in the old Brown and Muff's department store. It includes a retail outlet for local artists and a great meeting place for Bradford folk, called the 'Picnic Parlour'. This initiative of the 'Bradford People's Centre' showcases the need for a public space for gathering. Ever since the market space of the wool exchange closed well over a decade ago, there has not been a free meeting up point in the city centre. At long last that has been rectified.
It is Bradford's people that make it such a great place to be, and to see us out in force, in our multicultural beauty, made me remember how proud I am of this city. God Bless Bradford! Let's go from strength to strength.