Hillsborough stories: Paula Ann Smith
- 7 April 2014
- From the section England
Paula Smith from Clubmoor, Liverpool travelled alone to Sheffield on a Liverpool Supporters' Club coach, having been given the ticket by her brother. She was 26.
This is the full statement to the inquests from her brother Walter Smith:
Paula Ann Smith was born on 27 June 1962. Paula was the baby of the family.
In our family, there were our parents, Anne and John, and before Paula was born we were a male household, apart from my mum. John was the eldest, then Michael, I and Barry.
When Paula was born, we were all in our teens, apart from Barry.
There was nine years between Barry and Paula.
Paula was absolutely loved and spoilt by all of us.
My parents, and in particular my mother, were over the moon when, after four healthy boys, they had a little girl.
Paula was a very good little girl; she never gave my parents any concerns or worries when she was growing up. She did not smoke or drink. She was always with my mum.
She was very much a stay-at-home person. Paula was quiet and shy by nature, and at her happiest in her bedroom at home. She liked listening to the Osbournes and enjoyed watching comedies.
I was 16 years old when Paula was born. It was me that introduced her to the game of football. I was a Liverpool supporter.
She was only six or seven years old and would want to come with me wherever I was going so, I thought, why not take her to a football match.
I was not sure if she would enjoy it, but I gave it a go anyway. She understood the game straight away. She would not take no for an answer when I was going to matches.
For years, I used to take her to the stand, as I was concerned about her safety in the Kop.
As she got older, she pestered me until I agreed we would go into the Kop. She loved it in the Kop, and then, if I was not able to go, she would go into the Kop on her own.
Paula understood all about the beautiful game. Paula and I were the only ones living at home with my parents.
My other brothers had left home and were married themselves. Paula and I were not only brother and sister, but also close friends. Whenever she didn't want to talk to our mum about something, she would speak to me and I would give her advice.
We never tired of talking about football. We knew all the footballers' names and we could go back years and recall who was the manager at a particular time, who got substituted in given games or other particularities about the club.
We would quiz and test each other's knowledge and my niece sometimes says I can't tell you what I ate yesterday, but I can certainly tell you a football fact from years ago.
Paula was the same. Paula's bedroom was completely decorated in Liverpool Football Club paraphernalia.
After every game, she would visit the souvenir shop and buy something there.
It was almost a ritual. She had everything to do with the club and spent whatever money she had on buying items from the supporters' shop.
Kenny Dalglish fan
Paula finished school and became a chambermaid on the youth training scheme working at the Bradford Hotel, Thibarn Street, Liverpool.
My mum was not happy about the way that Paula was treated and told Paula to pack in the job. Paula never worked after that. She was more or less a companion to my mum.
They did everything together, including shopping, visiting family, cleaning the house and even trying to cook, though this was not one of her strong points.
She was very close to our mum. They went everywhere together, apart from football matches.
Every year, they went on holidays to Butlins or Pontins.
She never really had boyfriends, and she mainly socialised by going to football matches, family parties or coming out for drinks with me.
On New Year's Eve, I would go and see Stewart's mum and his family before going to the pub for a drink, and she would come with me and drink orange juice.
Stewart, who we called Stewie, was my friend, and he always went to football games with me and Paula. We would go and watch the games live and when we returned home, Paula would watch it again on the television.
On that fateful day, we would have gone to the game with Paula, but there was only one ticket, so we let her have it and I went to work. I often think if I had been there with her, she would be alive today.
Kenny Dalglish was Paula's hero, so I guess it is only fitting that he was present at her funeral.
Both my parents are dead now, as is my brother Michael. My mother never got over Paula's death.
She was heartbroken, as was my father. I miss my baby sister Paula. We shared so many happy memories.
I believe the facts stated in this witness statement are true.