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Hillsborough memories remain raw for Liverpool

By Victoria O’Hara

Published 15/04/2009

The Hillsborough tragedy - 1989
The Hillsborough tragedy - 1989
The Hillsborough tragedy - 1989
The Hillsborough tragedy - 1989
The Hillsborough tragedy - 1989
A sea of flowers at Hillsborough stadium, in memory of the Liverpool fans who died at Hillsborough
Hillsborough Memorial
A Liverpool supporter holding a banner
Fans and players observe a minutes silence at Hillsborough
Liverpool's Xabi Alonso wearing a black armband in memory of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster
The Hillsborough tragedy - 1989
Debbie Routledge, a survivor in the Hillsborough stadium disaster 1989
Fans on the pitch at Hillsborough. FA Cup semi final April 1989 between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. 96 football fans lost their lives in Britain's worst stadium disaster
Fans receiving attention on the pitch. Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield will always bear the scar of England's worst football tragedy. On April 15th 1989, 96 Liverpool fans lost their lives having gone to watch their side contest an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest
Gill and Brian Caldwell being crushed against the fence in the Liverpool enclosure at Hillsborough
Liverpool fans at Hillsborough, trying to escape severe overcrowding
Fans crushed against the perimeter fence at Hillsborough
An injured fan receiveing attention on the pitch
An injured fan sits against the goalpost with his leg in a splint
Fans recieving medical attention on the pitch
Hillsborough disaster policeman looks at a pile of police helmets lying on pitch amongst debris
Police shielding injured fans at Hillsborough
Kevin Williams stretchered off on the Hillsborough pitch during the Hillsborough disaster
Injured fans lie on advertising boards which were used as makeshift stretchers
Victims at the Hillsborough football disaster, 1989
Victims at the Hillsborough football disaster, 1989
Bent and twisted fencing at Hillsborough in the aftermath of the tragedy
A distraught young Liverpool fan in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, his wife Marina and daughter Kelly during the memorial service for the victims of the Hillsborough Tragedy.
Scarves and floral tributes laid at Anfield
Scarves and floral tributes at Hillsborough
A young boy adding to the floral tributes at Anfield's Shankly gates
A message written on a wall remebering the Hillsborough disaster victims
Andrew Devine, coma victim of the Hillsborough football disaster
Hillsborough disaster victim Andrew Devine who is now communicating by pressing a micro switch
Margaret Thatcher at Hillsborough
Anfield fans leave flowers in the nets

Church bells will ring out 96 times across Liverpool today to remember each victim of the Hillsborough disaster who perished in the tragedy 20 years ago.

At six minutes past three, the time the game was abandoned, a two-minute silence will be held and the city's public transport will come to a halt.

The bells of Liverpool's Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals and civic buildings will also ring out.

The two-minute silence will be part of a larger memorial service held at Anfield.

Captain of Liverpool Football Club Steven Gerrard — whose 10-year-old cousin Jon-Paul Gilhooley was the youngest victim of the disaster — will lead the players to the ceremony.

Thousands of people are expected to attend the event marking the anniversary of the day that changed the face of modern football.

Beginning at 2.30pm Liverpool’s Lord Mayor Steve Rotheram will address those assembled alongside Trevor Hicks of the Hillsborough Family Support Group.

A family representative will be presented with the Freedom of the City honour by Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.

A scarf will be laid on the pitch by Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez and a candle will be lit to remember each individual life.

During the service Gerry Marsden will also perform Liverpool FC’s anthem, You’ll Never Walk Alone.

The Lord Mayor will present individual scrolls to members of the victims’ families, and letters of support from the Queen and Prime Minister will be read.

Ninety-six Liverpool supporters died at the FA Cup semi-final between their team and Nottingham Forest on April 15 1989.

Ninety-four people died at the scene and 766 were injured. Two died later in hospital.

The game was abandoned six minutes into play as people were crushed against fences at the front of the Leppings Lane stand under the pressure of people surging into the stadium from the turnstiles.

On the website people have been leaving their messages of sympathy to mark the anniversary.

Doug Hyam wrote: “Although 20 years have passed the thought of the horrific events will never leave me.”

Last Saturday football fans at Anfield observed an emotional minute's silence in memory of the victims of the disaster.

The stadium was completely hushed as players and fans from both Liverpool and Blackburn observed the sombre silence.

Football scarves were quietly held aloft, with one large banner bearing the message ‘96 Brothers'.

Stephen Warnock, Blackburn's former Liverpool player, carried a wreath onto the pitch and laid it on the turf in front of the Kop before kick-off.

Speaking about the anniversary Gerrard said: “It is important these people get remembered individually and not just as a number of 96.

“This club has fought for justice ever since and will continue to do so.”

A remembrance book has also been opened at Liverpool Town Hall for people to sign and leave messages.

And a commemorative song: The Fields Of Anfield Road, inspired by the Irish classic The Fields Of Athenry, has also been released.

It is sung by survivors and relatives of the victims, who join past and present Liverpool players and famous musicians from the city.

Singers include John Power of The La's and Cast, Peter Hooton of The Farm, Nick Kilroe from Echo And The Bunnymen, James Walsh of Starsailor and Rob Taylor of The Troubadours.

The record was released to raise money for the Hillsborough Families Support Group.

Mr Rotheram said: “Generations before mine used to claim that they could remember exactly where they were when man first landed on the moon, or on other such significant historical occasions.

“For us, everybody can instantly recall the precise moment they heard the news from Hillsborough.

“The memories of the terrible events of the 15th of April 1989 are as vivid today as they were 20 years ago.

“The launch of this CD is simply an attempt to commemorate the men, women and children who didn't return home from that FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield 20 years ago.

“We will never forget the 96,” he added.

Belfast Telegraph

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