Liverpool

Hillsborough memorials unveiled in Liverpool

Families touch the Hillsborough Memorial
Families of those who died in the disaster touched the names of their loved ones on the memorial

Two memorials to the 96 people who died as a result of the Hillsborough tragedy have been unveiled in Liverpool.

A memorial monument was unveiled on Old Haymarket in a public ceremony, attended by 300 people, on the eve of the disaster's 24th anniversary.

A memorial clock was installed at Liverpool Town Hall in a private ceremony earlier for victims' families.

However, campaigners have complained they still face "bigotry" from people blaming fans for the disaster.

The 96 fans died as a result of a crush within the Leppings Lane terrace of Sheffield Wednesday's stadium during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

Sheila Coleman, of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, said a misinformed minority of people still believed Liverpool supporters caused the tragedy, even though the Hillsborough Independent Panel said police and other agencies were at fault for the disaster and subsequent cover-up.

'Facts are lost'

"The bigotry is still there," she said.

"I saw David Mellor (former Conservative sports minister) on television the other day protecting Margaret Thatcher in relation to Hillsborough, and he spoke in the context of drunken, violent supporters.

"People still fall back on the bigotry and they will. Sometimes facts are lost if the myths make better press."

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said the event was extra special, as it was the first since the families of victims fought and won justice in their campaign.

Mr Anderson said: "Twenty-four years, the passage of time has still not dulled the pain and suffering for those of you gathered here today."

He added that the 96 were "robbed of their dignity by the people in authority" who indulged in "lies and deceit" rather than admit their mistakes.

'Fans' celebration'

Margaret Aspinall, who lost her 18-year-old son James in the disaster and is chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said Monday's anniversary would be "an emotional day".

Hillsborough clock
The time on the antique clock is frozen at 15:06 BST, the time the disaster happened

She added: "I think it should also be a bit of a celebration for the fans and survivors there that day, because they went through so much and it's the first time in all these years that we have had the truth out."

The memorial monument - a 7ft (2.1m) bronze structure - features the words "Hillsborough Disaster - we will remember them", along with the names of all 96 Liverpool FC supporters who died.

Family members of those who died were the first to be allowed to view it and some touched the individual name of their loved one.

The ornate mahogany clock, which is from National Museums Liverpool's collections, was made in the 1780s by John Clifton, and stands 8ft (2.4m) tall.

The hands on its 13-inch (33cm) arch dial, which features the sun and moon rising, will be frozen at 15:06 BST, the time at which the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest was stopped on 15 April, 1989.

The anniversary is also being marked with an exhibition of a 96-tile mosaic called United for Justice, showing an image of a young Liverpool fan shaking hands with a young Everton fan.

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