Hillsborough disaster: Bells rung to mark anniversary

The crowd at Anfield fell silent to mark the moment the match was halted

Bells have been rung 96 times across Merseyside to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

The bells of Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool Town Hall and churches in Merseyside rang at 15:06 BST during a one-minute silence.

It marked the moment Liverpool's FA Cup semi-final at the Sheffield ground was halted on 15 April 1989 after a crush that led to the deaths of 96 fans.

An annual memorial service was held at Anfield stadium.

Seats left empty

Campaigner Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, and other families of victims were clapped as they arrived for the service.

96 seats with scarves draped over them A seat was left empty and draped with a football scarf for each Liverpool fan who died

Fans, players and club officials also gathered in the ground. Ninety-six seats, which were draped in scarves, were left empty.

The service began with the singing of the hymn, Abide With Me, which is synonymous with the FA Cup and has been sung at every final since 1927. It was also recorded as part of a charity single in memory of the victims in 1989.

A ring of lights called the Band of Life, with each light inscribed with the name of a victim, was lit as the names of those who died were read out by the Reverend Kelvin Bolton, the Reverend David Smith and Father Stephen Maloney.

The Band of Life As each name was read out, a light was lit on the Band of Life sculpture

A minute's silence followed, which Rev Bolton ended with the words "a time never to forget".

Taking the first reading, Everton manager Roberto Martinez said he was was only 15 when the disaster happened and that "as a family, we couldn't believe the pain and horror".

He said he was there representing his club, adding that "Everton remembers - we always will".

The service was also screened at Everton's ground, Goodison Park, for fans to pay their respects.

Roberto Martinez, Steven Gerrard, Daniel Agger, Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush and others Everton manager Roberto Martinez (top left) sat among Liverpool players past and present

Martinez was followed by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who said that while "you don't struggle for inspiration [at] this great football club, the single biggest source for me is when I arrive each match day and see the Hillsborough memorial".

Speaking to the families of the victims, Rodgers said they had "all stood for 25 years together [and] the love for the people you lost inspires me every day as manager".

"I really do feel inadequate in your company. You will never walk alone."

Standing ovations

Many aspects of today's service felt the same as the service did five years ago for the 20th anniversary.

The 96 names were recited then, as now. The Kop was full then, as it was today.

But in every other sense, today's service was different.

When Andy Burnham spoke in 2009, he was heckled by a lone cry of "Justice for the 96", which spread throughout the Kop.

This year when he spoke, it was to a very different reception - applause filled the stadium.

With new inquests under way, the justice process is ongoing.

This year's commemorations were tinged with a feeling of hope and optimism for the future.

Leigh MP Andy Burnham, who had been booed at a Hillsborough memorial service in 2009 while delivering a speech as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, thanked the families of the victims.

In a speech which saw several standing ovations for the people he mentioned, including campaigner Anne Williams who died shortly after the memorial service last April, he said he had asked his mother what he should speak about.

He said she "told me to wish you all the best for the league and to say how fitting it would be if you won it in this of all years".

He also praised former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish for his work with the families over the last 25 years, adding, "what leadership, what loyalty he has shown on your behalf".

Trevor Hicks, the president of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said the 25 years since the disaster had been "a very long road".

'Spirit of 96'

Mr Hicks, who lost two daughters at Hillsborough, thanked Liverpool Football Club for their support and the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

Trevor Hicks, father: "The families of the 96 - we did it... we made it all happen"

"The spirit of the 96 burns in our hearts and drives us on," he said.

He also paid tribute to the families of the victims, who he said had "made it all happen".

"We stood together. We pulled, we pushed, we refused to lie down, we refused to go away, which is something that annoyed an awful lot of people."

His words were echoed by Mrs Aspinall, whose son died at the Sheffield stadium.

She said the families had been "fighting for 25 years".

"No matter how much dirt they tried to throw at us, Liverpudlians, Scousers, we don't lie down and take it."

Their speeches were followed by a rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone, led by the singer Gerry Marsden, during which 96 balloons were released.

The service ended with the crowd singing You'll Never Walk Alone

In Sheffield, the city's cathedral held a two-minute silence at 15:07 BST.

At the Hillsborough ground, a short service and a wreath-laying ceremony also took place at the memorial garden and the stadium was opened to allow people to lay flowers and remember those who died at the match against Nottingham Forest.

A minute's silence was observed at Old Market Square in Nottingham for the victims.

Hillsborough memorial service A memorial service was held at the monument at Hillsborough

Scarves from every club in the top four divisions were laid on the pitch to create a number 96 at Anfield as a "sign of unity" for the service, a spokesman for Liverpool said.

Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson said the city "will never forget those who died at Hillsborough, and this is a day for us to unite and remember each and every supporter and the friends and families left behind".

Who were the 96 victims?

Eight of the Hillsborough victims, CW from top left: Paul Clark, Stephen Copoc, Tracey Cox, Jon-Paul Gilhooley, Steven Fox, Vincent Fitzsimmons, Christopher Edwards

Tuesday's events follow a weekend of tributes to the 96 fans, which saw wreaths left at Anfield's and Hillsborough's memorials to those who died and football matches in leagues across England kick-off seven minutes late.

The commemorations come as fresh inquests into the deaths of the fans are held in Warrington. The inquests have been adjourned until 22 April.

They were ordered after the original accidental death inquest verdicts were quashed in 2012 following an independent report.

More on This Story

Hillsborough Inquests

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    That's all for Local Live for the night. The service returns at 08:00 on Wednesday. You can still reach the team by email at merseyside.locallive@bbc.co.uk.

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    A former police inspector who was on duty during the Hillsborough disaster has denied he was "leant on" to ensure his account "toed the party line".

    Hillsborough disaster

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    M53 Junction 5

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    Police weather gadgets
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    Former Odeon cinema, Chester

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    Chapel Street, Liverpool

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    Liverpool press conference

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    Hillsborough stadium

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    Jenny and full monty actors
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    News on the hour 16:00: Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

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    crashing waves in Crosby 15:56:

    You've been sending your storm pictures to us.

    crosby beach

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    Chapel Street, Liverpool

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    bad weather in New Brighton

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    New Brighton
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    Arts Council chief

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    Ellesmere Port

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    news on the hour 12:58: Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    Strong winds have been battering the Merseyside coast, as the tail-end of Hurricane Gonzalo hits the UK.

    A Met Office warning remains in place for our region for the rest of the afternoon.

    Listen live to the 13:00 bulletin.

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    Gareth Bale

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    Brijesh Patel

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    Winds becoming stronger 12:20: Tom Airey BBC News

    BBC Weather reports wind strengths will continue to pick up throughout the UK today.


    On Merseyside, where gusts of more than 50 mph have already been reported, we could see winds up to 70 mph until the early evening.

    The windswept look 12:16: Jayne McCubbin BBC North West Tonight

    The just stepped-out-of-gonzalo to edit look.

    Jayne McCubbin windswept
    Storms don't stop runner 12:12:

    The stormy weather is not stopping some people, like this runner in Crosby, Merseyside.

    runner crosby

    Email your pictures to merseyside.locallive@bbc.co.uk.

    Train problems 12:06:

    Merseyrail emails to say due to signalling problems between Moorfields and Sandhills the Kirkby line is disrupted.

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    Train services between Hunts Cross and Southport have returned to normal.

    Windy on motorways 12:02: Tom Airey BBC News

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    news on the hour 12:00: Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    Gusts of more than 50 mph have been recorded on Merseyside as the tail-end of Hurricane Gonzalo hits the UK.

    Listen live to the 12:00 bulletin.

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    Real arrival 11:51:

    realmadrid tweets: ¡De camino a Liverpool! #LIVvsRealMadrid #HalaMadrid

    Real Madrid
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    weather twitchers

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    Wirral Council

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    Scotland Road free school

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    shopping bags

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    Get in touch via email, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

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    I've been in contact with Liverpool John Lennon Airport to see if today's weather has impacted on flights at all.

    John Lennon Airport

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    Tree down in Wavertree 11:02: Marc Gaier BBC Radio Merseyside

    I've witnessed the storm damage at Wavertree playground in South Liverpool as a tree is down.

    storm damage

    Do you have any pictures of damage after the high winds? Email merseyside.locallive@bbc.co.uk or Tweet us.

    news on the hour 10:59: Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    Strong winds caused by the remnants of former Hurricane Gonzalo are expected to cause disruption across much of the North West today.

    A yellow warning is in place across our region for gales - it means be prepared for the bad weather.

    Listen live to the 11:00 bulletin.

    Paperback typer 10:55: Liverpool Echo
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    A man has died after the car he was driving crashed into a railway bridge near St. Helens Rugby Club's Langtree Park stadium.

    Peasley Cross Lane, St Helens

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    He was the sole occupant of the Fiesta, said Merseyside Police, and he was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

    Gusts of up to 70 mph 10:39:

    The Met Office tweets: Gusts of 50 mph still likely inland and up to 70 mph in exposed coastal areas bit.ly/1ed1LTH #weatheraware

    weather warning
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    RSPCA van

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    On Merseyside, 918 incidents have been reported between January and October, a spokesman said.

    Slow down in winds 10:24:

    Cheshire Fire tweets: Really high winds across Cheshire this morning. #SlowDown if you're driving this morning cheshirefire.gov.uk/news-events/la...

    awful weather
    Wild at Perch rock 10:13: Jayne McCubbin BBC North West Tonight

    It's wild at Perch Rock this morning and former Hurricane Gonzalo is blowing me off my feet!

    perch rock

    I'm pleased to say it was pretty calm on the roads coming through Merseyside.

    Hillsborough Inquests 10:08: Ben Schofield BBC Radio Merseyside

    A retired senior police officer has defended reviewing and altering police officers' statements about the Hillsborough disaster.


    Ch Insp David Beal, who helped draw up the police's match orders, told the Hillsborough inquests he believed it was "legal and above board".

    He denied being a "key part of a cover-up".

    Gales forecast 10:03:

    The Met Office has issued "be aware" warnings, with gales forecast for much of the UK, while BBC Weather said heavy rain was already spreading across many areas.

    Weather map
    news on the hour 09:58: Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    As the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo hit the UK a yellow warning's in place right across Merseyside and Cheshire.

    In our region we are being told to expect winds of up to 60 or 70 miles per hour until around 18:00.

    Listen live at 10:00.

    Mystery gadget 09:50: Tony Snell BBC Radio Merseyside

    It's no secret that I'm a big fan of gadgets, but can you guess what my latest gizmo does?


    Email me your guesses or contact us on Twitter or Facebook.

    Train failure 09:53: Tom Airey BBC News

    Merseyrail has told us a train failure has caused services to be suspended between Hooton and Chester.

    All other Northern and Wirral services are said to be running with delays.

    Bonfire warning 09:48: Marc Gaier BBC Radio Merseyside

    Merseyside's fire service is using the case of a schoolboy from Birkenhead as a warning to others about the dangers of bonfires.


    I've been to speak to 14-year-old Keegan Morton, who suffered serious burns when an aerosol that was thrown on a fire exploded last year.

    The Woodchurch High School pupil has now fully recovered.

    Beatles home sold 09:41:

    The childhood home of former Beatle George Harrison sold for £156,000 at the Cavern Club last night.

    Harrison home

    Harrison was six years old in 1949 when he moved into 25 Upton Green in Speke, Liverpool, with his parents.

    Accident on M6 09:32:

    There are reports of one lane on the M6 blocked due to an accident, two vehicles are involved northbound at Junction 20 (Lymm Interchange).

    Hurricane impact 09:25:

    As the North West experiences the remains of Hurricane Gonzalo, we ask: How do hurricanes affect the weather in the UK?

    BBC Weather

    John Hammond from BBC Weather can explain.

    Traffic slow on viaduct 09:16: Warrington Guardian
    Blustery Hoylake 09:11: Julia Bryson BBC Local Live

    I took these pictures of the storm clouds and the petrol blue sea at Hoylake this morning. It was very blustery and I almost lost my hat.

    Hoylake beach

    Do you have pictures you'd like to share? Email merseyside.locallive@bbc.co.uk or Tweet us.

    M57 closed after accident 09:06:

    NW Motorway Police tweets: M57 has been briefly closed due to accident which has been cleared but traffic may be heavy n/b j5-6 as a result.

    Railway bridge death 09:02:

    A man has died in a car crash near St. Helens Rugby Club this morning.


    Emergency services were called to Peasley Cross Lane at 04:30 to reports a Ford Fiesta had hit a railway bridge.

    The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

    News on the hour 08:58: Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    Strong winds are expected to cause disruption across much of Merseyside and Cheshire as the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo sweeps into the North West.

    You can listen live here to the 09:00 bulletin.

    Gonzalo's last hurrah? 08:53:

    As rain and strong winds are likely to cause disruption and gusts of more than 60mph have been recorded in the North West, you can read more about the tail-end of Hurricane Gonzalo nationally on this live blog.

    Woman struggling with umbrella

    A yellow warning from the Met Office is in place for much of the UK due to the high winds.

    Weather with Eno 08:48: BBC North West Tonight

    tweets: Full weather forecast with Eno bit.ly/BBCNWTFB

    Chester line disrupted 08:41:

    Merseyrail emails to say due to a broken down train between Chester and Bache the Chester line is disrupted.

    Runcorn Bridge crash 08:31:

    Cheshire Police is warning there may be delays on the Runcorn Bridge this morning due to an accident.

    Runcorn Bridge

    Officers are telling people to approach the area with caution.

    Hurricane Gonzalo 08:22: Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    As the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo hit the UK a yellow weather warning's in place right across Merseyside and Cheshire.

    In our region we are being told to expect winds of up to 60 or 70mph until around 18:00 tonight.


    At Liverpool John Lennon Airport flights are currently running as normal, but there may be delays if flights are held up elsewhere.



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