Hillsborough stories: Eric Hankin

A father-of-two and staff nurse at Moss Side hospital in Maghull, Eric Hankin travelled with a number of friends, who all survived.

This is the full statement to the inquests from his daughter, Lynsey Hankin:

I am the daughter of Eric Hankin, who was killed in the disaster at Hillsborough football stadium on 15 April ,1989. My father was a victim of the crush which occurred in pen 3 on the Leppings Lane terrace. He was 33.

Image copyright Hillsborough Inquests
Image caption Eric Hankin was married with two children

I make this statement at the request of the coroner with a view to providing some personal background about my father. This statement is made on behalf of my family, including my mother, Karen, and my brother, David. I was 12 when my Dad died and David was seven.

Dad was born on 26 October, 1955. Dad was born in Walton, Liverpool. Shortly after leaving school, Dad became a male nurse at Moss Side Hospital in Maghull, where he was to become a staff nurse.

Mum met Dad when she was 14 and Dad was 18. They met on a blind date. The date was part of a plan to separate Dad from his friend, Billy. Mum's friend, Christine wanted Billy to herself. One date was all it was supposed to be!

They married on 19 October, 1976. Mum was 16 and Dad was 20. They had two children: me, on 7 March 1977, and David Eric on 1 July 1981.

Mum and Dad had to adapt to a whole new way of life and it was turbulent - but they did it! Dad strived to move the family from accommodation provided by his employer in the Moss Side Special Hospital into a home of our own.

'Dedicated nurse'

Mum and Dad achieved in owning their own home, a car and what seemed at the time like a pretty good life with David and I.

Mum says Dad was an ordinary man. He was a son, a brother, a grandson, a son-in-law, uncle and brother-in-law. To Mum, he was the father of her children, her friend, her confidant, her lover and on occasion her sparring partner. He was like every one of us - yet none of us.

My Mum says that Dad wasn't perfect, but who of us here today could stand up and say they are? It was those imperfections, those quirks, those things we still laugh about as a family today that personifies the man he was.

It was these things that helped Mum and Dad learn about each other, taught them to make allowances and for them to grow together as a couple. Their quirks helped make them the couple they were.

They learnt to own up to their shortcomings, and agree to disagree. They could shout and scream at each other or cuddle and comfort each other in equal measure.

My Dad was dedicated to his job as a staff nurse. He strived at his job to achieve promotion. He worked every hour of overtime to provide for his family.

Dad refused to pay for anything weekly. He would always wait until he had saved up the cash. It used to infuriate Mum, but she would wait, because she knew if it was within my Dad's power, we would have it, and nine times out of 10 we would eventually get what we needed.

Dad tried his best to make us all happy. He would give us his all one minute and then moan about the price of a loaf for an hour. The standing family joke was that Dad could peel an orange in his pocket wearing a boxing glove.

'Like a giant'

To me, my Dad was like a giant when I was growing up, a big friendly giant.

He made everyone laugh. He never sat down at the table to eat without making the teapot yawn!

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Media captionEric Hankin Sr pays tribute to his son

He spent hours teaching me how to ride my first bike. He took me to Crosby baths every Sunday to teach me how to swim.

When I was little, he would take me out on the crossbar of his bike, although we did come off a few times as his coordination was as bad as mine! Obviously, it's where I get it from.

We went on holidays every year, both abroad and in caravans, with my Nan and Granddad, my Auntie Gill and Uncle Mark. Our family was full of love and laughter.

One of my earliest memories is when I must have been five years old, standing on a chair in my Great-Nan's bungalow singing his beloved Liverpool songs.

I remember listening to stories of his times on the Kop, watching his favourites, Ian Rush and 'King' Kenny Dalglish.

When David and I were in the car with my Dad, we had to hold our noses every time we drove past Goodison Park, and when we went past Anfield we had to salute! This is something I still do with my kids now.

'Chewing his moustache'

My favourite days were when it was hot and my Mum and Dad would pick us up from school together. They would have a picnic in the car and we would go to Formby beach for our tea. Every time Dad would say, 'I'll bring you here when you're 17 and I'll teach you how to drive'. He never got the chance to.

He was a good Dad. He loved me and I loved him, although if you saw him chewing his moustache, you knew to run for cover! He was annoyed about something and he had a giant voice as well.

As I got older, our relationship changed. I was not his little girl anymore. I didn't want to sit next to him on the bus into town any more. I sat at the back on my own pretending I was so grown up, even holding my own ticket.

Then came the time I asked could I go to the under-14s night at Fallows nightclub. He went white and said 'no' at first. After some persuasion, he said 'yes', but he was taking me and picking me up, so I agreed and he did collect me, although, when he picked me up, the car wouldn't start and all the other kids gave us a push.

I was dying with embarrassment and he thought it was really funny. I never asked to go again. And I swear there was nothing wrong with that car!

Now I have my own children, Jack-Shankly, Michael Eric and Libby Anne. They know all about their Granddad Eric. I only wish he was here to enjoy them in the way that we do.

'Rest in peace'

As I have said, I loved my Dad and he loved me unconditionally. A big giant-shaped hole has been left in my heart since the day he died.

I've learnt how to live with it, but I don't think the pain will ever leave me. Mum and Dad enjoyed watching a TV programme and one of the quotes from it was, 'I am not a number, I am a free man.'

Describing someone you love is extremely difficult. How do you describe someone in a way only you knew them? How do you put down on paper what someone did, still does and always will mean to you?

This statement is a tiny part of a picture of a man, not a faceless fact or a figure. My family and I hope that this procedure allows us and our loved ones the freedom to finally rest in peace."

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