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23 April 2014

25 years after Hillsborough

'A day of coming together in unity'

Rev Phil Lamb

The sun shone down on 15 April 1989. Little did Liverpool FC football fans heading for a cup semi-final know the sun would soon turn into the darkest night of their soul.

As the football ground got closer, they could see others they knew dressed in Liverpool's famous red shirt, the songs, the banter, the You'll Never Walk Alone, sang from the street and from the stands.

At 3.06pm the singing stopped as 96 Liverpool fans perished on the Leppings Lane terracing at Hillsborough.

25 years later, fathers walk with sons, mothers with daughters and friends as brothers in arms bedecked with the colours of their favourite team, Liverpool FC, mingle around Anfield to await the beginning of the 25th Anniversary Memorial Service.

You could feel the people reflecting on just what might have been and see the pain etched on the faces of those who have lost loved ones.

Nevertheless, they, like the city of Liverpool and the football community, united with the Hillsborough Family Support Group [HFSG] to fight for truth and justice for those who perished that day.

Among the Red Family, shirts were worn by fans with wreaths from their neighbours Everton, from Hull, Manchester City and Manchester United laying them among the hundreds of flowers at The Memorial.

Scarves from European teams were held aloft alongside the Liverpool faithful as Gerry Marsden led an emotional You'll Never Walk Alone.

Over 20,000 people sang their hearts out as balloons (one for each of the 96 and a number 25 balloon) were released into the Merseyside sky.

The service, led with great sensitivity by local clerics, showed what the day was all about, a coming together in unity.

Standing ovations were given to Brendan Rogers, Liverpool's manager and Roberto Martinez from Everton who paid tribute to those who fought and continue to fight for justice, remembering Anne Williams who sadly died last year after campaigning so hard for 24 years.

One banner stated: "Justice delayed is justice denied". There is no denying, justice is finally coming to a city and a football club whose families, and supporters, would not be silenced.

They have never walked alone, nor will they walk alone until justice for the 96 is received.

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