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HJC: Hillsborough Memorial 15th April 2015


Thank you to John Mac for sharing this with us

15th April 2015

Early in March members of the group became aware of a desire amongst some Liverpool fans to have an alternative to the Anfield memorial service. The idea was to revisit Hillsborough to pay respect to the 96 men, women and children who had travelled to Hillsborough in 1989 for the FA Cup semi-final and had never returned home.

As a group we thought that this was a wonderful idea and exactly the type of initiative we should be supporting. Having contacted Vision Coaches, who made the magnificent gesture of offering us a coach and driver if we covered the cost of petrol, it was decided to go ahead with trying to provide transport for those who wanted to travel to Sheffield to pay their respects.

As ever in this city, it was the rank and file fans that did the organising around the day and particularly Greg Heynes who had come up with the original idea, collected names and organised the trip by creating a Facebook group.

The day itself was a tremendous success, most who travelled on the coach to Sheffield were survivors of the disaster, many of whom returning for the first time. Some brought younger family members, who no doubt, returned enlightened by the experience.

The day brought some element of closure for many who made the trip, the eerie silence of the Leppings Lane with roses for the dead lying behind the goal, the silence and respect at the service, laying flowers at the small tribute erected by local shopkeepers and the gates to the memorial garden erected by the City Council. The service at the ground was a low-key affair carried out by the club chaplain from the day of the disaster with the names of the 96 read out by bereaved family members.

For somebody who has attended each service at Anfield, it was strangely paradoxical to what that experience has become each 15th April, a real opportunity to pay respect to those who had perished and lay some demons of my own from that ground to rest.

Although the driver offered his time for the HJC, we thought it only fitting to make a contribution for his day’s work, which eventually he reluctantly accepted. A token whip round on the coach helped pay for some of the flowers that had been taken to Sheffield and the residue was donated to local charity strongly supported by the HJC.

We were delighted to be able to offer some bereaved members of one of the families a lift home on the coach rather than them having to wait a few hours for a train and the whole day was roundly received by all that had travelled, more than a few people commented about the whole experience helping to lay some of their own personal demons aside.

Each year the HJC has sent representatives and wreathes to Sheffield on the 15th April, but this year was something different.

The whole day was one of remembrance and as group the HJC was delighted to be able support this and facilitate what we could to support bereaved, survivors and their families on this most important of days for many of us. None of us will ever forget that day but anything that we can do to support those who live every day of their lives with it, we should and are proud to.

We believe that the day was a success for the HJC and that this will become an annual event on the anniversary. We would encourage anybody who wants to pay respect or feels that it may help them come to terms in any way with the events of 1989 should join us next year. It is anything but an easy day but one that many who travelled felt real benefit from.

A big thank you again to Vision coaches for their support, to all of those who gave their time and effort particularly Greg and, as ever, Gerry at the HJC shop. Biggest thank you to everybody who travelled and made the day what it was, with the emphasis firmly on paying respects to all of the victims of the disaster.

John C:
Brilliant John, thank you.


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