John McBrien

John McBrien

Age: 18

Academically gifted John McBrien from Bromborough was due to study Social and Economic History at Liverpool University. The court heard he was sociable, friendly and had a passion for acting.

His mother, Joan, described him at the inquests as a 'kind, generous, charismatic and remarkably mature young man. He was talented in so many ways, but was so modest'.

Portrait by his mother Joan Hope

I, Joan Hope, am the mother of John McBrien, who was killed at the Hillsborough disaster on Saturday April 15, 1989, aged 18.

My two remaining sons, Alan and Andrew, and I make this joint statement at the request of the coroner, Lord Justice Goldring, with a view to providing some personal background information about John. John's father, Roy, died in 2002.

John was born on Monday February 15, 1971, in Bromborough on the Wirral, and was the youngest of my three sons.

John had a very special relationship with everyone in the family. He was a kind, generous, charismatic and remarkably mature young man. He was talented in so many ways, but was so modest.

He was happy, energetic and compassionate through the whole of his life; everyone loved him and he loved everyone.

While he was with us, he had a hugely positive influence on us. That influence remains profoundly strong on us all today.

John was a student at Holywell High School, where he excelled academically. He was very intelligent. He was studying A-levels in Mathematics, Politics and Economics and was due to start at the University of Liverpool in the Autumn of 1989.

He had already received an unconditional place to study Social and Economic History.

He was popular at school and was sociable and friendly. After John died, the school set up the John McBrien Memorial Fund in his memory. Two prizes are awarded each year to students: one for high academic performance and one for sporting achievements.

We all remember the time when John, while studying Politics at school, took part in a mock USA presidential election. John played the role of Michael Dukakis, the candidate for the Democratic Party. He was a marvellous speaker. He stood against George Bush Senior and won the election.

He had his photograph taken for the local newspaper, which is an exhibit to this statement.

John was a handsome young man, who was always organised and made a real effort with his appearance.

John was a remarkable actor. It came to him naturally. John and Alan were members of the amateur drama group at the parish church. John was passionate about acting.

He played the part of Major Tarver in Dandy Dick by Arthur Wing Pinero and had performed in many productions.

John also enjoyed sporting activities. He was a junior member of the Holywell Golf Club and loved walking, cycling, running and playing football. He was fit and healthy and had a passion for football.

When John was six years old, we all went as a family to watch Wolverhampton Wanderers versus Leicester City at Molineux football stadium. This was the first professional football match John attended. It was a great family day out and everyone had lots of fun.

After moving to Holywell in 1979, he started supporting Liverpool Football Club and regularly attended matches, as he was a season ticket holder and a member of the Deeside Liverpool Supporters' Club.

John had so much going for him and was looking forward to going to university.

John's death wrecked all of our lives. We struggled to come to terms with what had happened. Even today, the pain of losing John has not gone away.

John was so very special to all of us. His death was completely devastating to our family. He was such an amazing son and brother and we all miss him deeply. 

You'll Never Walk Alone

Rest in Peace