After ending the tradition of hosting the annual memorial for the victims of the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster at Anfield at the request of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, April 15th in Liverpool will be a bit different this year with two low key gatherings to remember the 96-people who lost their lives in the horrific events that unfolded following the kick-off of the FA Cup semi-final between the Reds and Nottingham Forrest in 1989.
Ahead of the 28th anniversary, Anfield paid tribute to the victims before the Reds clash with AFC Bournemouth, unveiling a beautiful mosaic on the Kop honoring those who never made it home from Sheffield. That, of course, won’t be end of the club’s involvement this year, but instead of having those wishing to pay their respects gather at the stadium, going forward a service will be held at one of two of the city’s cathedrals with Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral hosting this year.
“While the Anfield service has now finished, at the request of the families belonging to the HFSG, who organised it, the city of Liverpool will obviously never forget the 96,” said Hillsborough campaigner Margaret Aspinall, who was recently awarded a long-term achievement award at a ceremony in London. “And this annual service will give those people who wish to mark the anniversary in a formal way a chance to reflect in one of our two cathedrals.”
After hearing more than two years of evidence, the jury in the new inquests ruled that the 96 Liverpool supporters were unlawfully killed and that contrary to the lies stemming from that afternoon, the Reds fans did not contribute to the disaster. Over 500 witnesses, 4000 documents and graphic footage from the Hillsborough stadium made up the case. The longest running in British legal history, the new inquests have exposed a wealth of new information, exposing cover-ups, omissions and mis-truths stemming from the events of the day and who was really responsible for its deadly final toll.
“This year’s Hillsborough Service at Liverpool Cathedral is an act of worship – a simple, prayerful service offering the chance to continue to remember the victims of Hillsborough and pray for the families and all affected, and is open to all who find it helpful to mark the anniversary in prayerful contemplation,” explained Bishop Bayes. “We offer prayers for all those affected by the tragedy, remembering them in our hearts and thoughts.”
One tradition may have come to a close, but another is starting up — the 96 will never, ever be forgotten.