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Final Hillsborough memorial service cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic

The Hillsborough Family Support Group was due to hold its last service at the home of Liverpool, 31 years since the disaster.

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A memorial at Anfield for the Hillsborough disaster (Nigel French/PA)

A memorial at Anfield for the Hillsborough disaster (Nigel French/PA)

A memorial at Anfield for the Hillsborough disaster (Nigel French/PA)

The final Hillsborough memorial service, which was due to take place at Anfield on Wednesday, has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Hillsborough Family Support Group was due to hold its last service at the home of Liverpool, 31 years since the disaster at the side’s FA Cup semi-final in 1989.

But the service – in memory of the 96 supporters who died in the match against Nottingham Forest – has been postponed due to coronavirus.

Players and staff will hold a minute’s silence and flags will be flown at half-mast.

Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the group, said the service was due to be the last of its type as the families would remember their loved ones “in their own way” on future anniversaries.

31 years ago today, 96 children, women and men lost their lives at Hillsborough. Our thoughts are with all those affected by the tragedy and the 96 fans who will never be forgotten.

Posted by Liverpool FC on Tuesday, April 14, 2020

She said: “In light of recent events, a decision was made collectively by the families to postpone our final memorial service at Anfield.

“We wish to keep as many people safe as possible and we believe this is the right approach.

“On behalf of the HFSG, I would like to thank everyone for their understanding in this matter.”

In a video message posted by Liverpool City Council on Twitter, mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “We mark the event in the city every year with a minute’s silence, also the town hall bells toll and we lower the flags at half-mast at the town hall and the Cunard Building.

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Fans commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster before a Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

Fans commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster before a Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

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Fans commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster before a Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

“That’s still going to happen today as we pay tribute to the 96 and also remember the families and those that were at Hillsborough who suffered the trauma and were injured also on that day.

“Clearly we can’t do it in the way we would normally like to be able to because of the coronavirus, but it still means that we should take time ourselves to reflect and think about the 96 and their families and loved ones and pray for them in a minute’s silence.”

Fresh inquests held in 2016 found the 96 men, women and children were unlawfully killed and found that blunders by South Yorkshire’s police and ambulance services “caused or contributed to” their deaths, and exonerated Liverpool fans of wrongdoing.

It was announced in February that the families of the victims had decided to hold a last service after former police match commander David Duckenfield was cleared of gross negligence manslaughter following a retrial in November.

PA