ONE OF THE LAST wishes of Anne Williams has come true, four years after her death. She wanted to honour the people who tried to save her son Kevin, who lost his life in Hillsborough Stadium in April 1989.
Ninety-six football fans died at Hillsborough. Initially, the authorities blamed the fans for being drunk and trying to get to the front. The families of those who died and the survivors campaigned for justice, claiming that the authorities had negligently let too many people into the away supporters’ part of the stadium, pushing them in and causing a crush. The death and injury toll was also increased because the authorities delayed in taking down the internal fencing to allow the crush to be relieved.
Eventually second inquests were held on those who had died, and they concluded last year that the victims had been unlawfully killed. Six police officers with responsibility for police action that day now face criminal charges.
Anne Williams was one of the key and enduring figures in the families’ campaign. She fought on, even after she was diagnosed with cancer. She died in 2013 – having given her brother Danny a list of her last wishes to carry out on her behalf.
Today, Sunday, 26th November, Danny completed the final wish – creating a permanent tribute to the survivors who tried to help Kevin at Hillsborough, attempting to save his life. Danny discussed what should be done with other survivors and family campaigners and then commissioned a bronze commemorative plaque. Unfortunately, several organisations refused his requests to host the plaque in a public place.
Finally, Merseyrail agreed to install the plaque at Liverpool station – a very fitting venue, where members of the public will be able to see it and where it will be accessible to those who want to visit it to remember the events of that day and pay a quiet tribute to the fans.
Speaking about the unveiling of the plaque, Danny said: “Anne was a dedicated supporter of the survivors and always said they tried to save her little boy, so this was her last legacy. Being from Formby, she regularly got the train to Liverpool Central to attend her meetings for justice in town, so it’s really special to have it there. The plaque was her way of recognising all the suffering and trauma they have been through, and are still going through, and to thank them for the help they gave to others, on that terrible day. We hope this tribute will give the survivors some small comfort knowing they will never be forgotten.”