Hillsborough tragedy: How a 'megaphone' Mass united fans

Outdoor Mass Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral At least 6,000 people were outside the cathedral while inside there were more than 3,000

One day after the Hillsborough disaster - as the people of Liverpool struggled to comprehend the enormity of the tragedy - a remarkable service attended by 9,000 people took place at the city's Roman Catholic cathedral.

Just over 24 hours after Britain's worst football stadium tragedy, Monsignor Vincent Malone surveyed Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral with a growing anxiety.

A requiem Mass had been hastily arranged in the aftermath of the disaster at the Liverpool v Nottingham Forest FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield, which would eventually cost the lives of 96 people.

"People were heading to the cathedral like ants," recalled parishioner Rita Pinto.

Press photographer Tom Murphy added: "People who claimed not to believe in God or faith just came to the cathedral because there was nowhere else to go."

As a priest, Monsignor Malone might be expected to be glad to see so many turning to the church in their hour of need but there was one snag - the cathedral looked to be reaching its 3,000 capacity nearly 90 minutes before the Mass was due to start at 18:00.

Outdoor Mass Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral The service has been credited with helping the city cope with its grief

"People started arriving around 4:30 and it soon became pretty clear we seemed to be getting over-full," he recalled.

"This was the worst possible situation," he added.

He decided to close the cathedral immediately and conduct a simultaneous service on the piazza at the building's rear.

Consulting with the police he had an urgent request - for a megaphone.

So as fans, councillors and Liverpool first team members gathered inside for the start of a service, Monsignor Malone was walking to the rear of his cathedral where more than 6,000 people had massed.

In a freezing wind on a piazza, where in joyful times Pope John Paul II had gone on walkabout in 1982, the people had waited for the service as the Salvation Army band played.

"What sticks in my mind most is, as I walked round to the piazza, I could hear waves of applause and wondered if the Salvation Army Band were still playing like they had been for most of the afternoon," he said.

"When I got there I was very moved to see that the people were applauding as individuals placed their football scarves on the outdoor Altar.

Hillsborough memorial Mass At least one Liverpool player would attend every victim's funeral

"It was a very unusual experience, I thought my megaphone would be one where I held a talk piece to my mouth but instead I had to speak into the trumpet directly.

"I wish I had had the foresight to get a copy of Archbishop Derek Worlock's sermon - I could have read it out. The cathedral seemed to be the only place outside of Anfield where people could come together that day to express their corporate grief."

Electrician Tony Zeverona had initially been outside the cathedral with a friend who was begging to be let inside because he had lost a relative.

"The man on the door agreed and asked did I want to go with him and I said 'yes' - to be honest it was a bit of a blur," said Mr Zeverona, who had been in the stands at Hillsborough the day before.

Earlier he had visited an injured friend in a hospital in Sheffield before going to the Anfield stadium where fans were laying tributes.

Start Quote

I often say that the city as a whole didn't know how to react until late on the Sunday”

End Quote Greg Murphy Everton fan

"I got home and my wife told me about the cathedral service - I had to go. I think it helped a lot of people. The people of Liverpool really came together."

For Liverpool players, the Mass was the first of many services they would attend as the club arranged for at least one player to attend each victim's funeral.

Midfielder Ronnie Whelan said: "I attended the Catholic cathedral service but my memory is a bit hazy. I have stronger memories of the service at the Anglican cathedral [the following week].

"It was so sombre. Very, very emotional - especially when You'll Never Walk Alone was sung," he said. "It was very, very difficult - although much more difficult for the families.

"I attended two funerals. You feel a little bit guilty. What can you do? The families seemed to appreciate it though."

In the blue half of the city, some Everton fans felt awkward in the tragedy's aftermath.

"We were caught between not wanting to intrude almost - and perhaps be seen as a bit phoney or insincere - and not wanting to appear unconcerned," said Evertonian Greg Murphy.

"I often say that the city as a whole didn't know how to react until late on the Sunday.

"The cathedral service was a great catalyst for focusing everyone's attention, because by that stage people knew how big a disaster it had been and were coming to understand that this was a global news story and so the cathedral event served to validate people's grief.

"I recall people saying 'I don't know why I feel so bad, I don't even like football, I don't know anyone who was there, I didn't even know where Hillsborough was until yesterday - but I feel dreadful'.

"The cathedral event pulled all that together - for everyone."

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Liverpool

Weather

Liverpool

6 °C 4 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    15:00: News on the hour Megan Key BBC Radio Merseyside

    Two boys, aged 12 and 13, have appeared in court charged with raping a woman at her home in Liverpool.

    A 43-year-old woman, described by police as vulnerable, was attacked at her flat in Anfield in September.

     
  2.  
    14:46: Old rail sign uncovered

    @merseyrail tweets: Check out the very old chalk notice board uncovered in the works to Water Street walkway at James Street station

    Old sign
     
  3.  
    14:31: Man speaks out on boys' home abuse Sue Nicholson BBC News

    A man abused at a Liverpool boys' home in the 1960s has spoken out about his ordeal to encourage other victims to break their silence.

    Daniel Kane

    Daniel Kane, 58, who grew up in Merseyside but now lives in Kent, said he still found it hard to deal with what had happened to him as an 11-year-old boy at the home on Menlove Avenue.

     
  4.  
    14:12: Care worker jailed Liverpool Echo
  5.  
    14:00: News on the hour Megan Key BBC Radio Merseyside

    Two boys from Liverpool have appeared in court charged with raping a 43-year-old woman.

    The boys, aged 12 and 13, can't be named for legal reasons. The alleged victim was attacked in her home in Anfield last year.

     
  6.  
    13:49: Your views Tom Airey BBC News

    We've introduced BBC Local Live from our base in Liverpool to bring you the latest news, sport, travel and weather all in one place. Why not tell us what you think?

     
  7.  
    13:38: Liverpool & Everton B for cup? BBC Sport

    A majority of League One and League Two clubs are backing a proposal to allow Premier League B teams to participate in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

    Although not a formal proposal, minutes from an AFC Wimbledon Supporters' Trust meeting reveal their side was the only one of 48 to oppose plans.

     
  8.  
    13:32: Hanover Street bus changes

    @Merseytravel tweets: Don't forget there are changes to some bus services in city centre due to the closure of Hanover Street ow.ly/JRDK0

     
  9.  
    13:21: Boys in court on rape charge Marc Gaier BBC Radio Merseyside

    Two boys have appeared before Liverpool Youth Court, charged with raping a 43 year-old woman last year.

    The boys, aged 12 and 13 and who can't be named for legal reasons, are also charged with other sexual offences.

    The alleged victim was attacked in her home in Anfield in September.

     
  10.  
    13:00: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    A Warrington-based charity is bringing together 90 leading education specialists from across Europe today to look at how to protect young people from radical groups.

    It is in response to the growing number of teenagers falling prey to extremism.

     
  11.  
    12:47: Injury check on Baines

    @Everton tweets: INJURY UPDATE: Baines to be assessed today ahead of #STOvEFC. Atsu to return to training on Friday.

    Leighton Baines
     
  12.  
    12:31: Fire consultation starts Tom Airey BBC News

    A second public consultation is underway to discuss proposals to merge fire services in West Wirral.

    Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is considering its options to make cutbacks, including closing West Kirby and Upton fire stations and building a new station.

    West Kirby station

    Public meetings will be held in Saughall Massie, Upton and West Kirby.

    A final decision will be made in June.

     
  13.  
    12:11: Rattle's return to UK Tom Airey BBC News

    World-renowned Liverpool conductor Sir Simon Rattle is to join the London Symphony Orchestra as its music director from September 2017.

    Sir Simon Rattle

    The 60-year-old currently has three years left on his contract with the Berlin Philharmonic.

     
  14.  
    11:59: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    A Warrington-based charity is bringing together 90 leading education specialists from across Europe today to look at how to protect young people from radical groups.

    It is in response to the growing number of teenagers falling prey to extremism.

     
  15.  
    11:48: Rocky fight reports 'ridiculous' Tom Airey BBC News

    Liverpool boxer Tony Bellew has described reports of a fight on the set of the new Rocky film as "ridiculous".

    Various media outlets in the US reported Sylvester Stallone had to step in after a brawl started during the filming of Creed.

    Tony Bellew

    Bellew, who is playing 'Pretty' Ricky Porter in the film, tweeted he had not been involved in "any kind of fight" on the set.

     
  16.  
    11:38: Search for doctor relatives Warrington Guardian
  17.  
    11:32: Southport outdoor film vote

    @seftoncouncil tweets: King's Gardens, Southport, will host 4 outdoor film screenings this year. What will those films be? You decide http://ow.ly/JRCHZ

    King's Gardens
     
  18.  
    11:12: 'Lucky to be alive' - Ted Robbins Lynette Horsburgh BBC News

    In his first interview since collapsing on stage, Phoenix Nights' star Ted Robbins describes the moment he suffered a cardiac arrest.

    Ted Robbins

    The comedian who was born in Liverpool collapsed during a performance of Phoenix Nights Live, at Manchester Arena, on 31 January.

    Watch his interview online.

     
  19.  
    10:59: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    A Warrington charity is helping teachers, academics and policy makers prevent the radicalisation of young people.

    The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace says extremism is a major issue in education.

     
  20.  
    10:50: Everton striker search BBC Sport

    The Football Gossip column reports Everton may miss out on signing Galatasaray striker Goran Pandev.

    Reports in Italy claim the 31-year-old has signed a pre-contract agreement with Genoa.

     
  21.  
    10:38: Men cleared in kidnap case Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News
  22.  
    10:23: Merseyside derby tonight

    @LFCladies tweets: It's MATCHDAY!! @LFCladies face @EvertonLadies tonight in a pre-season friendly at @SelectStadium - 7.30pm KO!

    Liverpool Ladies
     
  23.  
    10:07: M56 delays BBC Travel North West

    There's slow traffic on the M56 westbound between junction 12 for Runcorn and junction 14 at Hapsford.

    It's after an accident caused a lane closure earlier this morning.

     
  24.  
    09:59: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    Six men have been released on police bail over a fight outside a Liverpool nightspot.

    Officers were called to the Heaven club on Victoria Street in the early hours of Monday morning.

     
  25.  
    09:51: Rodgers 'wary' of Clarets BBC Sport

    Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says he is "wary" of the threat posed by Burnley.

    Rodgers

    The Reds face the Lancashire side on Wednesday night and are hoping to continue their unbeaten run in the league in 2015.

     
  26.  
    09:42: Tranmere in action Phil Kinsella BBC Merseyside Sport

    Tranmere captain Steve Jennings has warned his team mates they have 12 games left to secure their League Two status as their relegation battle turns serious.

    Rovers go into tonight's crucial home game with promotion chasing Wycombe just a point above the drop zone.

    Striker Rory Donnelly and winger Jennison Myrie-Williams are both injury doubts for the Prenton Park fixture.

     
  27.  
    09:31: Men arrested over street brawl Lynette Horsburgh BBC News

    Six people arrested over a street brawl outside Heaven nightclub in Liverpool have been released on police bail.

    Heaven

    Officers were called to Victoria Street in the early hours of Monday morning.

     
  28.  
    09:20: Dog fight warning Liverpool Echo
  29.  
    09:10: Phoenix Nights star thanks medics

    Phoenix Nights' Ted Robbins has said he is "eternally grateful" to the medical staff who treated him when he collapsed on stage a month ago.

    Ted Robbins

    In his first interview since leaving hospital, the Liverpool-born comedian said: "I am so lucky to be alive."

    The 59-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest during a performance of Phoenix Nights Live, at the Manchester Arena, on 31 January.

     
  30.  
    09:00: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    Six men arrested after a fight outside Heaven nightclub in Liverpool city centre have been released on bail while police investigations continue.

    Patrols were called to Victoria Street in the early hours of Monday and found a 21-year-old with cuts to his head, face and hands.

     
  31.  
    08:46: Man jailed for killing brother Nafeesa Shan BBC News

    A man who admitted killing his older brother after an argument turned violent has been jailed.

    Mark Lowe, from Skelmersdale, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Wayne Lowe who died from blunt force head and neck trauma.

    Mark Lowe

    The 33-year-old's body was found in Southport in September last year.

     
  32.  
    08:30: Reds back in black BBC Business

    Liverpool FC have reported a profit for the first time in seven years.

    Balotelli

    The club reported a pre-tax profit of £0.9m in the year to 31 May 2014, compared with losses of £49.8m a year earlier.

    It's largely due to a rise in revenue from the Premier League.

     
  33.  
    08:17: Hillsborough Inquests Ben Schofield Hillsborough reporter

    An off-duty Merseyside Police chief has denied trying to "assist" the South Yorkshire force by writing a "glowing" statement, the Hillsborough jury has heard.

    Hillsborough

    Sir James Sharples insisted officers were "composed", "very professional" and "outstanding" in his account of the 15 April 1989 disaster.

     
  34.  
    08:10: Traffic building

    BBC Travel reports there's congestion in several areas this morning, but no major traffic incidents so far.

    The A59 is busy in Aintree between the A506 and Junction 7 of the M57.

    It's also congested on the westbound A5058 in Bootle.

     
  35.  
    08:05: Cold and bright BBC Weather Latest

    It's a cold but bright start for many this morning.

    Weather

    A mixture of sunshine and showers - heavy and thundery at times - will affect the whole of the North West later.

     
  36.  
    08:00: Morning folks Tom Airey BBC News

    I'm here to bring you the latest news, sport, weather and travel updates from across Merseyside.

    If you'd like to get in touch, you can do so on email, Facebook or Twitter.

     

Features

  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back


  • Aimen DeanI spied

    The founder member of al-Qaeda who worked for MI6


  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?


  • A man shutting his eyes tightlyStrange light show

    What do you see when you close your eyes?


Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.