Anfield to hold final Hillsborough memorial service


The final annual Hillsborough memorial service at Anfield will take place to mark 27 years to the day since the tragedy claimed 96 lives.

Thousands of ordinary fans are expected to gather with the families of those who died in the tragedy to pay their respects one last time at the home of Liverpool FC.

Families of the 96 unanimously agreed this year's service, held annually on April 15 to mark the anniversary, would be the last major public event at Anfield.

Hillsborough Family Support Group chairman Margaret Aspinall has said this year's service will "draw a line under it" and thank those who have supported the families over the past 27 years.

The 96 Liverpool fans died in the crush on the Leppings Lane terraces at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium after going to see their team play Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final on April 15, 1989.

A minute's silence will be held at Anfield at 3.06pm, to mark the exact time the fateful match was abandoned.

Across the city, public transport will be halted, the Mersey Ferry will blow its funnels, and flags will be lowered on civic buildings before bells toll 96 times at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Prayers will also be said at the Anglican Cathedral before the silence.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: "We will never forget those who died at Hillsborough, and this is a day for us to unite as a city and remember each one and also their families and friends left behind.

"I urge everyone in Liverpool, and across the region, to observe the minute's silence, as a mark of respect for the 96 who lost their lives."

The Lord Mayor, Councillor Tony Concepcion, said: "Hillsborough was a tragedy which must never be forgotten and it is appropriate that the city marks the anniversary in this way."

The original accidental deaths verdicts in the 1991 inquests were quashed in the High Court in 2012 after a campaign by the fans' families.

The hour-long memorial service at Anfield on Friday is scheduled to start at 2.45pm, concluding with the singing of the club's anthem, You'll Never Walk Alone.