Last ever Hillsborough memorial service to be held at Anfield today - 27 years on after disaster in Sheffield

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

Friday, 15th April 2016, 7:20 am
File photo dated 15/04/1989 of overcrowding at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough. The jury in the inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans at the Hillsborough disaster has retired to consider its verdicts, more than two years since the hearings began. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday April 6, 2016. The seven women and three men of the jury retired to consider 14 key questions set out by the Coroner Sir John Goldring, in a 33 page questionnaire, including determining if match commander David Duckenfield is responsible for the unlawful killing of the fans by gross negligence manslaughter. See PA story INQUEST Hillsborough. Photo credit should read: David Giles/PA Wire

Thousands of football fans are expected to gather with the families of those who died in the tragedy at Hillsborough football stadium, Sheffield, 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 of the disaster, 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.

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The 96 Liverpool fans died in a crush on the Leppings Lane terraces at Sheffield Wednesday’s 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.”

Inquests into the deaths of the 96 fans are currently underway after the original accidental death verdicts were quashed.

Jurors are considering the verdicts.