Liverpool paused to remember the lives of
the 96 fans who died at the Hillsborough
disaster 21 years ago today.
Over 10,000 people attended the memorial
service at Anfield, including survivors, family
members, Liverpool fans, players, ex-players
A minute-long silence was observed at
3.06pm, the moment the 1989 FA Cup
semi-final against Nottingham Forest was
halted as officials realised fans were being crushed on the terraces.
The names of the 96 were read out as the choir of St Anne Stanley sang in the background. It was followed by a standing ovation by all those in sat in the Kop, including Liverpool players and staff.
Former LFC player John Aldridge and Inspector Bernie Swift of Merseyside Police both delivered readings during the memorial service.
The Bishop of Liverpool, who is chairing the latest review of documents relating to the disaster, was also in attendance with other members of the panel.
Margaret Aspinall, Chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, addressed the fans and thanked all those present for their support, pleading for justice once more: “If I say anything controversial I make no apologies because I believe the families deserve apologies from everywhere. We know the reasons why a blanket was placed over Hillsborough and that blanket must now be removed.”
Phil Hammond, the previous chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, was not able to attend due to health troubles but sent his thanks and best wishes to all those present.
At the end of the ceremony Pat Jones and Jenni Hicks from the Hillsborough Family Support Group Committee released 96 red balloons in memory of those fans who died, as Neil McHale sang the club's famous anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.
Margaret Edwards, 62, who was at the fateful match 21 years ago, lost her cousin Arthur Horrocks. She said: “I love these memorials because they remind us of our loved ones; it’s a unique time when we can all come together and remember what happened. It’s painful, and that pain will never go away, but I believe that the panel will get us justice we deserve - we will lift that blanket.”
Another attendee Robbie Maran, 51, spoke of his own pain and desire for justice: “I almost feel guilty for not being there, I had tickets to the final the year before and I feel like I should have been there. We all knew the people who died there, and I still feel like I should have been there with them. The pain is still fresh – they can’t rest in peace, because it keeps getting dragged on. Once they get the truth though, we’ll all be able to truly rest.”
By Sam Rogers
More Hillsborough stories
Memorial in pictures
Over 10,000 people attended the emotional service, which ended with 96 balloons released (pics: Vegard Grott)
Hugh O'Connell reports on Hillsborough