Patrick John Thompson

Patrick John Thompson

Age: 35

British Rail guard and father-of-five Pat Thompson was a dedicated Liverpool fan who travelled across England and Europe following the club. He managed to exchange a work shift with a colleague so he could attend the semi-final with his brothers.

His widow Kathleen told the inquests that Pat was "a hard-working family man who just happened to love football."

Portrait by his widow Kathleen Thompson

My husband Pat had worked as a guard for British Rail, based at the Garston Depot, for some 15 years before his death.

At the time he died, we had five children all under six: Patrick, who was six two days after his father's death; Sean, aged four; Katie, nearly two; and twins, Rebecca and Brendan, nine months old.

Pat dearly loved his family, his five children, his mum, dad, brothers and sisters.

Another passion in his life was football, his beloved Liverpool Football Club. He travelled all over the country and Europe to watch the Mighty Reds.

Pat was at Heysel in 1985 but in a part of the ground where he never became aware that there had been any trouble.

When we heard in Liverpool about what had happened at the match, we were terrified as to whether he was alright, but he only knew that there had been deaths there when he phoned us back home. This was because the match was played to its end and most spectators never knew that any tragedy had occurred.

I remember that Pat was shocked and horrified when he heard what had happened. He and I had never experienced violence at a football match, and of course we always watched from the Kop.

I met Pat in 1978. He worked with my brother-in-law and we saw each other at football matches both at home and on one occasion abroad in Paris, from where we travelled home together. We married in 1984.

Pat was a loving and generous man who treated me with love and respect. He was a larger-than-life character, who would help anybody if he could, as his numerous friends would confirm.

He enjoyed his work, working a variety of shifts, sometimes leaving home as early as 4am. On one occasion he did a shift of 26 hours at one stretch.

There was a social side as well to his work in terms of the Railwaymen's Club, to which I regularly went also once we were together.

From 1983 to 1989 he was a smashing dad. He played a full part with the children, including taking them to their grandparents. His nephew Kevin, who lived with his grandmother, spent a lot of time with us, as did my sister's boys, and we were usually a full house at home.

Pat had two brothers and two sisters and I am the eldest of seven - six girls and one boy. We were a really close family and still are.

My children regularly see their cousins and their primary school was full of family members. We have always been, as well, a part of a close-knit community and regulars at the Arncliffe Social Club.

Pat lived for his family and we had a holiday each year, self-catering in Wales.

Pat had a season ticket for Anfield. Once the children were born, he went only to the really big away matches.

Pat attended the Hillsborough semi-final in 1988, travelling, just as he did in April 1989, from Liverpool and stopping at the British Rail Social Club before going on to the match.

In April 1989, he was excited that he qualified for a ticket for the semi-final but then he found out he was on nights on Friday April 14 and Saturday April 15, 1989.

He managed to change his shift with somebody else so that he could go to the match and did so with his two brothers, Joseph and Kevin.

Pat's death affected so many people, not just myself and my children. Hillsborough has robbed my children of their father, a man who was so proud on the birth of each one of them.

The thing that hurts the most is the fact that the children have limited memories of their father. Only the two eldest have any memories at all, and the younger three, being only just under two and nine months old when their father died, have none.

However, they have grown up with constant stories of their dad, told to them by his family and my dad and sisters, who loved him so much and were devastated by his death.

I thank God that I met Pat, loved him and had five beautiful children with him. Everyone says they are a credit to their father.

Even now, my children love their dad so much and it gets harder for them, as they are adults now, and all they want is justice for their father.

Please listen to the evidence and let my children know that their dad was not a hooligan, but a hard-working family man who just happened to love football.

 

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