Today was 25 years since the FA Cup semi-final match was abandoned at Hillsborough stadium when 96 fans lost their lives. Church and town hall bells in Liverpool rang 96 times at 3.06pm to mark the sad moment and also Liverpool’s public transport came to a stop and barriers at the Mersey tunnels were also lowered.
A huge screen at Liverpool’s Lime Street station showed photographs of the 96 victims while at Anfield stadium, over 30,000 people came together for the service to mark the 25th anniversary of the disaster and to pay tribute to the people who lost their lives that day. Liverpool players and managers from both the past and present paid tribute with the families of those who lost their lives. Current manager Brendan Rodgers and Everton’s Roberto Martinez read out readings at the service.
Former Sports Secretary Andy Burnham was cheered and clapped as he told those present:
“Five years ago things changed. Things changed, not because of me, but because of you. They changed because you made your voices heard. That day, your voices were carried off this Kop and into every living room in the land and from there into the heart of the establishment. I knew you were right and they were wrong.”
Trevor Hicks and Margaret Aspinall, long-campaigning leaders of the Hillsborough Families’ Support Group spoke at the service.
“For 25 years we’ve been fighting to get to the truth. You all know what we’ve been fighting for, so I do not need to say what it’s for.”
A gospel choir sang You’ll Never Walk Alone while Liverpool writer Jimmy McGovern released 96 balloons in the stadium as the song got underway, a balloon for each victim of the disaster. There was also 96 seats left vacant and draped with Liverpool scarves in the stand in tribute to each of the victims.
Scarves from each of the English football league clubs were put on the pitch to create the figure 96 in tribute to the 96 people who lost their lives from crushing at Hillsborough stadium on the 28th of April 1989.
The service was also showed on a screen at Everton’s Goodison Park stadium, where chairman Bill Kenwright and fans as well as the first team team showed their support to Liverpool.
“Our city is home to almost half a million people known around the world for their compassion, humour and love of the great game. We are brought together by two much admired, world famous football clubs who have stood shoulder to shoulder since the unimaginable tragedy at Hillsborough.”
A specially commissioned sculpture created by Liverpool artist Julian J Taylor stood at one end of Anfield. The silver band displays the names of the 96 victims and represents the bond between families, survivors and friends.
The service comes while inquests into the deaths of the 96 people continue in Warrington.
As a person and a Liverpool fan, it is heartbreaking. I watched about the service today on the news and it made me cry. It could happen to anybody just going to a match and it is really really sad.
May all those who died rest in peace and may all their loved ones have strength to carry on.