Anne Williams: BBC award for Hillsborough campaigner

Anne Williams spoke to the BBC about her campaign in December last year

Hillsborough justice campaigner Anne Williams, who died in April, has been honoured at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony.

Anne fought tirelessly for a new inquest into her son Kevin's death in the 1989 football tragedy.

The Helen Rollason Award was accepted on her behalf by her daughter Sara, son Michael, and brother Danny.

"My mum embodied the very reason this award was created - strength, determination and passion," said Sara.

Anne, who had been suffering from cancer, died aged 60 just days after the annual Hillsborough memorial service at Liverpool's Anfield stadium.

She battled for more than 20 years to overturn an inquest verdict of accidental death on her 15-year-old son.

He was one of 96 Liverpool fans who died in April 1989 at the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground.

The BBC award - named after TV presenter Helen Rollason, who died aged 43 in 1999 after fighting cancer - is given for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity.

"Her tireless campaigning was driven by the love she had for her son Kevin and her dedication to seeking a new inquest," added Sara. "If anyone triumphed over adversity, it's my mum."

Kevin Williams
Kevin Williams was 15 when he died at Hillsborough

Anne's perseverance, along with fellow campaigners, prompted the creation of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which led to the original verdicts being quashed by the High Court in December 2012, with new inquests ordered for all who died. The new hearings are due to begin next spring.

At an inquest in 1991, jurors heard that Kevin and 94 others were dead by 15:15 BST, a verdict which his mother never believed and, as a result, she refused to accept his death certificate from the coroner.

Anne, who lived in Chester, tracked down witnesses, one of whom suggested Kevin uttered the word "mum" at about 16:00 BST.

Her calls for a fresh inquest were rejected by attorney generals and the European Court of Human Rights.

But following publication of the panel's reportexternal-link in September 2012, a further appeal by the families of the victims to quash the verdicts was upheld.

Anne, who said she "was never going to give up", travelled to the High Court a year ago to hear the ruling, despite being terminally ill.

Previous Helen Rollason Award winners

2012: Martine Wright - Paralympic sitting volleyball player

2011: Bob Champion - Grand National-winning jockey

2010: Sir Frank Williams - Formula One team boss

2009: Major Phil Packer - Marathon fundraiser

2008: Alastair Hignell - Broadcaster

2007: Oscar Pistorius - Paralympic athlete

2006: Paul Hunter - Snooker player

2005: Geoff Thomas - Footballer

2004: Kirsty Howard - Charity fundraiser

2003: Michael Watson - Boxer

2002: Jane Tomlinson - Amateur marathon and triathlon runner

2001: Ellen MacArthur - Sailor

2000: Tanni Grey-Thompson - Paralympic athlete

1999: Jenny Pitman - Racehorse trainer

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