Tributes were paid today to one the leading lights in the family campaign to bring truth and justice for the victims and survivors of the Hillsborough disaster.
Anne Williams, who has died aged 60, had been suffering from cancer. Her tireless efforts to prove that her son Kevin was still alive after the 3.15pm cut off imposed by the coroner at the controversial inquest into the deaths were completely vindicated by the findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel last year.
Kevin, 15, was among the 96 who died as a result of the crush at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989. The original accidental death verdicts have since been quashed and new inquests are due to be held. Her last appearance was at the 24th anniversary memorial at Anfield this week where she had not been expected to attend due to her declining health.
Liverpool FC posted a statement on Twitter today saying: "Liverpool Football Club was this morning saddened to hear of the death of prominent Hillsborough campaigner Anne Williams. RIP Anne."
On Monday, Sheila Coleman, of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, said of Mrs Williams: "We applaud Anne's tenacity to draw on whatever reserves she has left to be here today - she is quite simply an inspiration."
Other friends and well-wishers took to Twitter to pay tribute to the campaigner. Paul Mac wrote: "Deepest sympathy to Anne's family a truly truly lovely woman and your with Kevin now Anne. We will never forget you x."
Steve Monahan added: "R.I.P Anne Williams. What a true fighter and a wonderful woman. What she has had to endure for the last 24 years is a disgrace and it should never have been this long. But in the face of adversity she remained dignified and never gave up hope. If I'm half the parent she was when I have children I'll be doing well.”
Mrs Williams was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year just a month after the findings of the Panel which concluded that up to 41 of the victims might not have died if they had received adequate emergency care. It also disclosed evidence of a cover up in the wake of the tragedy which is now part of the largest investigation ever held by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Speaking after attending a hearing at London's Royal Courts of Justice in December when the original inquest verdicts were quashed, she said: "I am glad we never gave up. It has been hard, but we wouldn't have been here today. I'd like a corporate manslaughter verdict in the inquest, it's the least for what they have done.
"God willing, I will be here, it has been a long wait to see justice. I am so glad I could be here today to hear it for myself."