Five years ago, on the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, published letters on the website addressed to the loved ones who lost their lives on that fateful day in 1989.

Relatives and friends of the 96 supporters, who tragically never returned from Sheffield, were requested to share their words for a 'Letters from the Heart' tribute.

The response was truly overwhelming. Within days, the letters started arriving. Some were handwritten, others typed. Some took up pages; some were nothing more than a few lines.

On the 25th anniversary of Hillsborough, we've decided to republish some excerpts from 'Letters from the Heart'.

From a letter to Keith McGrath, who died aged 17 at Hillsborough, from his sister Anne-Marie

My beautiful big brother. I was six then but the pain then is still as strong as it is today. All those birthdays and Christmases without you.

From a letter to David John Benson, who died aged 22 at Hillsborough, from his daughter Kirsty Jade Benson

Wow, twenty years without you in my life and that same star still shining so bright in the sky at night. I know deep down you are watching over me.

From a letter to Richard Jones, who died aged 25 at Hillsborough, written by his mum

I find it hard to believe that twenty years have gone by since I last held you or heard your echoing around our home. I miss everything that was you, and like most mums adored her son.

Thank you Rick for making me so proud to be your mum and for 25 wonderful years of love, laughter and lots of fun. Yes I wanted more, so much more but until we meet again you are always on my mind and forever in my heart.

From a letter about Henry Charles Rogers, who died aged 17 at Hillsborough, from his mother

Henry was a wonderful son, full of fun, athletic and loving. His little sister was his pride and joy and even at such a young age, he instilled a feeling in her that you must embrace life and be as good as you can be. She has done just that and is now a competition lawyer working in Brussels, where she is to be married later this year. She too is an avid Liverpool fan and both boys would be so proud of her.

From a letter to Thomas Steven Fox, who died aged 21 at Hillsborough, from his mother

I cherish the memory of your smile and laughter. You are forever in my heart.

Miss you,



From a letter about Colin Wafer, written by his sister Lisa a couple of weeks after he died, aged 19, at Hillsborough

I am beginning to experience a lot of emotions such as hurt from the tragedy, but unlike my family I cry in secret, just as Colin would have. I wouldn't want to hurt anyone, just as Colin never did. I don't want to attract attention, as this was not Colin's style.

Now my family are starting a fresh new life and trying to carry on from before the 15th April 1989 because Colin has only died in body, but will never in soul. He will always be in our thoughts and in our hearts.

'Our' means family and friends because of the love, support and affection from everyone we know.

So remember, 'live today as if it were your last' for who knows, it might just be. Colin didn't know that the party he was at the night before was going to be his last.

God always takes the best first, and there couldn't have been anyone better than our Col.

From a letter about Tracey Elizabeth Cox, who died aged 23 at Hillsborough, written by her parents

Tracey died with her boyfriend Richard Jones, whom she had known for more than seven years, they were a lovely couple and very happy together - what a dreadful tragedy. They are sadly missed by both families, we will never know if they had lived and married, the additional grandchildren we might now have to love and to cherish.

From a letter to Carl Brown, who died aged 18 at Hillsborough, from his mum

Carl was a quiet son who had just celebrated his 18th birthday, finished college and had been accepted at the University of Manchester for Computer studies, pending his A-level results.

He loved and was loved by his family. He was a loyal LFC fan attending every match home and away, despite living in Leigh, not Liverpool.

His most prized possession was his season ticket.

He set off on that fateful day full of excitement and joy in the car with his friends as usual, joking that he hoped Liverpool would play Everton in the cup final.

He leaves behind a grieving mum, brother and family - his heartbroken dad has now joined him.

Delia Brown

From a letter about Graham John Wright, who died aged 17 at Hillsborough, written by his father

Graham worked for Swinton Insurance in Prescot as an Insurance Clerk. He was very popular and was in a steady relationship with his girlfriend Janet. He liked sport and music and achieved a black belt in Karate. Graham was a fun person to be around and is sadly missed by all who knew him.

George Wright (father)

From a letter to Keith McGrath, who died aged 17 at Hillsborough, from his mother

A beautiful life, so needlessly taken. The hurt is still there Keith and will always be, like our love for you. You're missed so much from morning till night, from sunshine to moonlight.

Today Keith, the world will remember the 96, not as numbers, not as statistics, but as individuals. You, my son, a 17-year-old lad, a football fan, who followed his team with pride.

I love you Keith, as I will always love you. In my heart now and forever. As does your sister Anne-Marie and your brothers, Darren and Mark.

Goodnight, God bless. Say hello to your Dad.

With all our love, your broken hearted Mum, sister and brothers.

From a letter to David John Benson, who died aged 22 at Hillsborough, from his wife Lesley

It hurts me everyday to think that you weren't given the chance to see your daughter grow into the most kind, thoughtful and wonderful person she is. Cody David, our grandson, makes me laugh and cry every single day. He is the light of my life and I know he would have been yours too. Kirsty always says to me, mum I wish my dad was here to see Cody and to be proud of me. My answer to that Dave is you can and you are. It's been hard and there were times when I thought I can't do this but I always got the strength and courage to carry on whatever life threw at me and Dave that's cos you gave that to me.

From a letter about Jack Anderson, who died aged 62 at Hillsborough, written by his son Brian

My Dad is Jack Anderson. He was almost 63 when he died at Hillsborough.

He was a devoted husband to my mum Eileen, dad to me and my sister, and a granddad of four. His life revolved around football. He was a Sunday league referee in Kirkby, booking and sending off some of the toughest players you would find anywhere.

He even had some run-ins with Phil Thompson, who was watching his local pub team 'The Falcon' from the touchline.

From a letter to Philip John Steele, who died aged 15 at Hillsborough, written by his mother

We watched you walk away on that lovely sunny day, not a care in the world, chatting happily with your brother. So excited because you had tickets to watch your beloved LFC in the semi-final.

A wave of your hand, a smile and you were gone. How could we have known that would be your last smile to us?

From a poem written about Paul Brian Murray, who died aged 14 at Hillsborough, written by his mother on October 15, 1989

No more shoes kicked off by the wall,

Where's the untidy bathroom and fingermarks in the hall?

No school bag, empty homework pages spilling out

Why all this silence, I just want to shout

That cheerful smile and loving nature

His caring attitude to every living creature

Those jokes and impressions of which there's no doubt

He'd never have been famous while those were about

I think I'll be a policeman, do you need 'A' levels for that?

Or a mechanic, when I own a Porsche, it'll be handy, will that

I'll come in a minute, just watching TV

Then I'll write to Kenny, maybe he'll see me

A goalie like Brucie or a striker like Rush

He'd play in a street until a neighbour made a fuss

Mum, dad, there's a letter, I've got that autograph,

No, not the manager, he's too busy, don't be daft

One day, I'll be famous, you wait and see

How many times had he said that to me?

Now in our town he has his wish

And we've got a letter signed Kenny Dalglish

No, I'm not angry, the summons came from above

He obviously need to get some of that love

They were all so devoted, to win was their dream

Now they're all playing in God's famous team.

Edna C Murray (Mother)

From a letter about Carl William Rimmer, who died aged 21 at Hillsborough, written by his parents

Just 21 years old, Carl had just celebrated his 21st birthday. He was a very loving son and very caring, with a fantastic smile. He had a lot of dreams for the future, including his girlfriend. He is very much missed. He left a very big hole in our hearts.

Mum and Dad

From a letter about Paul William Carlile, who died aged 19 at Hillsborough

My beautiful son Paul went out that morning so happy and never came back to me and his family. Our lives have been devastated since that day.

You never expect your child to go to a football match, never to come home and come home in his coffin.

From a letter about Roy Harry Hamilton, who died aged 34 at Hillsborough, written by his wife

On that fateful day, mine and my children's world fell apart. 20 years on and not a day goes by when I don't think of him.

Although we will not be in Liverpool today, thoughts of all the other families are never far away, but I like to remember Roy in my own way as although he was one of 96, he was our number one only.

From an extract of a poem for James Gary Aspinall, who died aged 18 at Hillsborough, written by his parents

Broken hearts can never mend

But one by one we will meet again.

The Earth has lost

Heaven gained

My wonderful son

His name is James.

Love and miss you so much, your broken hearted Mum and Dad.

From a letter to Nicholas Peter Joynes, who died aged 27 at Hillsborough, written by his family

Dearest Nick,

It is 20 long years without seeing your smiling face. We should have been a happy family all of us together.

With you and Mark (your brother who was killed in South Africa) I hope you are both together. We think about you both every single day, in our prayers, you are always in our hearts.

You have new family members now, Jessica, Sean and baby Emily. You remember Ian and Laura and your loving brother Paul, sister Michelle.

We have very cherished memories of you both; we look for you in rainbows. Our loving arms will hold you when we meet again.

From a letter about Eric George Hughes, who died aged 42 at Hillsborough, written by his wife

I lost the love of my life and they lost a good friend. I will always miss him.

From a message about Stephen Paul Copoc, who died aged 20 at Hillsborough, from his mother

In remembrance of a kind and caring son who is loved and remembered always.

From a letter about Derrick George Godwin, who died aged 24 at Hillsborough, written by his parents

He was a quiet person by nature, very well-mannered and liked by everyone. His only outlet from work was LFC. He couldn't wait for the weekends to come and would travel anywhere to watch his team play.

Since the Hillsborough disaster, we have met up with a lovely family from West Derby, who have become our best friends. We often visit each other and they love to get down here in the country, so we feel that something good has come out of something bad and their friendship has certainly helped us as a family over the years.

Derrick had one sister, Valerie, and she and her husband regularly go to Liverpool to watch matches, so they are carrying on the tradition for him.

From a letter to Peter McDonnell, who died at Hillsborough aged 21, written by his niece

Hey Pete,

How are you? Feels like forever since we last saw each other, but only a day since we lost you. You won't believe how much we miss you, a day doesn't go by where we don't think of you still! Not only that but you have missed so much too.

I hope you are with Patsy so you can say 'hello' to her from us and tell her we miss her too.

Did you know that you have four nephews now and that you're a great uncle?

There is so much I want to say, but not enough sheets of paper in the world to say it. What I will say is thank you for standing behind the goal and helping us win 4-1 against Man U! I'm sure you had something to do with it and also Istanbul!

From a letter about Carl David Lewis, who died aged 18 at Hillsborough, written by his parents

Carl has two brothers who went to Hillsborough with him. He also has a daughter, Chantelle, who was 11 months old at the time.

As long as we live, we will never forget that day.

Love and miss you loads Carl. Always and forever.

Mum & Dad

From a letter about Paul Clark, who died aged 18 at Hillsborough, written by his parents

Paul was 18 years old and lived with his Mum, Dad and sister Tracey in Swanwick, Derbyshire.

He was an apprentice electrician. He had many interests including playing football, fishing, golf and he was an LFC season ticket holder. Paul had a great sense of humour, always smiling. He was very popular and loved spending time with his mates.

Yours sincerely,

Ken & Sue Clark (parents)

From a poem about Ian David Whelan, who died aged 19 at Hillsborough, submitted by his mother


20 years have passed, it seems like no time at all

Little things remind us all of how things should have been

You should still be here, smiling and laughing

The fact that you're not makes our hearts ache

I could relay all the memories I hold inside of me

But that would take forever

We all have special times we remember

And those thoughts can never be taken away

Life goes on for those left behind, we try not to be bitter

We try to understand, if you were meant to come home that day

Nothing on this earth would have stopped you

You would have found a way

You had so much of your life left to live

You had so much of love still left to give

So many people miss you, family and friends

I will always wonder, how things might have been

As I sit here writing this, my feelings are still strong

I still hurt but I also smile, I was blessed

You touched my life, you touched my heart

For that I will be eternally grateful


This poem is dedicated to Ian David Whelan. It was written by Joanne, who was Ian's girlfriend at the time of the disaster. Joanne has gone on to marry and have two children, but has always kept in touch with us, which we appreciate.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs Doris Whelan

From a letter about Gary Christopher Church, who died aged 19 at Hillsborough, written by his sister

Gary lived at home with mum & dad and younger sister Tracey. Gary was one of four children, being the second to youngest - Karen, David, Gary and Tracey.

Gary was a season ticket holder and was training to be a joiner. Gary loved his family, especially his niece and nephews - Claire and her twin Christopher (6 years old) and Stephen (3 years old).

Love Karen

From a poem for Stephen Francis O'Neill, who died aged 17 at Hillsborough, written by his family

Life holds many blessings, our Lord bestows them all, to have had you Stephen for a son was the greatest blessing of all.

We watched you as a child and wondered what the future would hold, little did we know that morning God was going to call your name.

In life we loved you dearly, in death we do the same.

It broke our hearts to lose you, but you did not go alone.

For part of us went with you, the day God called you home.

You left us happy memories, your love is still our guide.

And though we cannot see you, you are always by our side.

Our family loves you dearly, what more words can we say?

One day we will be with you on that great and beautiful day.

Our memory of your happy, smiling face will never fade, we loved and lost you, you can never be replaced.

All our love, hugs and kisses are sent to heaven above.

God bless you Stephen, we just send you all our love.

Mum, Dad, sister Lisa, Lee, Millie and Connor and all your loving family

From a letter to Graham John Roberts, who died aged 24 at Hillsborough, written by his family

We're sorry you were never able to experience the joys of marriage but are pleased that your friends still keep in touch with us from time to time. It is great to see what loving families they all have, and all with special memories to retell when they visit. Stories of the good times you all had together, stories to make us laugh, stories to make us proud and stories of their own families and events that matter to them that they wish to share with us.

We can't believe 20 years have passed.

RIP Graham, all our love mum Daphne, dad Stan (who helped write this but was reunited with you on 3 March 2009) and sister Sue.

From a short note about Peter Andrew Harrison, who died aged 15 at Hillsborough, written by his mum

Peter was a lovely son, brother, grandson, nephew and cousin to a very large and loving family. Peter was 15 when the tragedy happened, he would have been 16 two weeks after on May 4th. We miss him so much.

Yours faithfully, Pat Harrison

From a few words about David Hawley, who died aged 39 at Hillsborough, written by his wife

Dave was a loving husband and father. 'Simply the Best.'

Mrs Ann Hawley

From a short letter to Philip Hammond, who died aged 14 at Hillsborough, written by his family

Dearest Philip,

We miss you so much.

Time endears and cannot fade

The memories so much love has made

We will hold you close in our hearts

Until that precious day when we can hold you in our arms

Lots of love

Mum, Dad and Graeme


From a poem about Steven Joseph Robinson, who died aged 17 at Hillsborough, written by sister Claire

Our Ste

April 15th 1989,

I was only twelve, just a kid at the time.

Twenty years it has gone by so fast

Time seems so short, when you look back to the past.

But everyone knows where they were on that day,

The day Liverpool stood still while time ticked away.

Red and blue united in grief,

Nobody spoke, just stared in disbelief.

The game we all love, forever changed on that day,

The day Liverpool stood still while time ticked away.

Now staring at the memorial, wishing I could erase his name,

'Steven Robinson, 17 years' remains there all the same.

But as Liverpool stands still at six minutes past three,

We'll remember them all but especially 'Our Ste'

Claire (sister)

From a letter to Brian Christopher Matthews, who died aged 38 at Hillsborough, written by his younger sister

Give our love to me Mam and Dad and all our aunties and uncles and keep on guiding us and spurring us on as I know you have over the past 20 years!

With lots of love from your still heartbroken baby sister, Debbie, Paul, nephew Clarke and nieces Lauren and Deanna.

From a letter to Brian Christopher Matthews, who died aged 38 at Hillsborough, written by his family

Finally Brian, I would like to say that we are so proud and privileged to have had you as our brother. Thank you for all the wonderful childhood memories that you have given us and thank you for being part of our family. We will remember you and talk about you until the end of our lives. You were so unique and an inspiration to us all. You will live in our hearts forever. Brian you are "OUR HERO" and "THE WIND BENEATH OUR WINGS".