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We Will Remember Them

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

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The thoughts of everyone at Everton are with the families of the 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives at Hillsborough 24 years ago today.

Everton paid tribute to those who lost their lives before Saturday's game against QPR with a period of silence.

A special tribute was played on Goodison's big screens and the Justice Collective's number one single He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother, was played at half-time as a sign of the solidarity shown by fans across Merseyside.

The Hillsborough memorial clock
 
On Sunday, Everton legend Graeme Sharp and life president Sir Philip Carter were present as two memorials were inaugurated in Liverpool city centre.

An 8ft clock, with the time frozen poignantly at 3.06pm, was unveiled at Liverpool Town Hall.

Then, at Old Haymarket, a 7ft bronze memorial with the words 'Hillsborough Disaster - we will remember them' was revealed.

The Hillsborough memorial at Old Haymarket

On Monday afternoon a memorial service was held at Anfield, where Everton chairman Bill Kenwright was amongst members of the congregation to provide a reading from the Bible.

Mr Kenwright also paid tribute to Margaret Aspinall, Chair of the Hillsborough Families Support Group, and underlined Everton’s ongoing support for the families of the 96.

"Twenty-four years ago today I was at Villa Park (for Everton’s FA Cup semi-final against Norwich), not as a chairman or board member but as a fan," said Mr Kenwright. "The journey home was terrible. We should have been celebrating reaching Wembley but as the news trickled through – and it was a trickle - we felt as though we had been relegated. I hope, since that day, you have known the support of Everton Football Club for you.

A floral tribute left beside the Hillsborough Memorial at Anfield

"Like all of you, I watched that Liverpool documentary a few weeks back. There were two words that were mentioned an awful lot and which resonated with me hugely, the two most important words in the English language, certainly in this city. The words were 'my mum'.

"They've taken on the wrong city and they've taken on the wrong mums too.

"The 96 are here with you today as much as they have always been and I hope by next year you will be celebrating the greatest victory any team in this country has ever had, not just in football, but in life.

"At Everton Football Club we salute you. God bless you."

Bill Kenwright and David Moyes arrive for Monday's Hillsborough Memorial Service

The end of Mr Kenwright's speech was met with chants of 'Merseyside'.

The service had begun with the hymn Abide With Me, sung by a choir.

A standing ovation was given as the names of all 96 fans who died in the 1989 disaster were read out before a minute's silence was observed at 15:06 BST, with a candle lit in memory of each victim.

Professor Phil Scraton, a member of the independent panel behind the report published last September, told the packed stadium the publication of that report was one of the most important days of his life before giving an emotional reading of the poem ‘Their Voices Will Be Heard’.

Liverpool owner John W. Henry gave an address and read a passage from the Bible, while Margaret Aspinall delivered an emotional speech in recognition of the work that has been done in the fight for justice over the last 24 years.

The service ended with a rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

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