Colin Wafer

Colin Wafer

Age: 19

Colin Wafer, the middle child of three, was a sociable young man who cared about his appearance, his clothes, his music and - above all - his family. Football and, specifically, Liverpool FC, was ingrained in him from birth. He also loved his job at TSB Bank and had secured a promotion at work just prior to his first away match - the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough.

His father Jim said: "I remember him as a calm, confident, lively, sensible, intelligent, hard-working grafter who was a pleasure to be around."

Portrait by his father Jim Wafer

Our son, Colin Wafer, was born to Rita and I on January 5, 1970. He became a loving brother to Ian, our eldest, and his younger sister Lisa.

He was a lively lad and an ambitious lad. Colin went to All Saints Primary School, Oakfield, near Anfield.

At the age of seven, he loved doing origami and art. After primary school he wanted to go to De La Salle secondary school where his brother, Ian, was attending and also because it was a better school.

He was accepted into Cardinal Godfrey School and told that he would be able to transfer to De La Salle if he came within the top four students in his class. That year, he was the top student in his class, and he was able to transfer.

Colin was a bright child and his favourite subjects at school were maths and art, at which he excelled.

He was a very outgoing boy. He had friends on the whole of our street and they used to come to our house to play snooker. Our house was like the hub of our district.

I remember Colin particularly liked going on coach day trips with people from our street that Rita and I used to organise, to Rhyl Sun Centre in Wales. He loved the wave machine there.

As a family, we went on holidays every year to different Butlins or Pontins resorts. Colin loved the beach and one year he got badly sunburnt after staying on the beach to complete his sandcastle.

Colin liked going on fairground rides with Ian and I. I remember all three of us went on a pirate ship once and Lisa was upset thinking that something would happen to us, but Colin loved it.

He had a sense of adventure. Another time, he took Lisa on a ride called the Waltzers at a theme park. Colin and the rest of us loved the thrill, but Lisa didn't. To this day, she remembers Colin and Ian screaming with joy whilst she shook with fear as the ride swirled around.

Like many children, Colin had a sweet tooth. He loved Battenberg cake, which his mum bought from the homemade pastry shop on Priory Road and gave it to him after tea.

He couldn't get enough of it, even though it always made Lisa, his sister, vomit; due to a nut allergy we only discovered years later. As a treat, we sometimes went to the fish and chip shop next door and he liked that too.

He also liked having chopped pork, which he ate in his own unique way, by laying the meat down, placing a couple of chips at the centre and then rolling it up, like the way wraps are that we do nowadays.

From a young age until he died, Colin was very particular. He didn't like things on his hands and he was constantly washing them to make sure they were clean. One of his nephews does the same thing now. Unfortunately, they never got to meet.

I remember he liked his hair to be neat and tidy, and he often got his mum to cut layers into it. As an older teenager, Colin continued to be sociable. He cared about his appearance and wearing good clothes. He particularly liked the Farah brand.

When he bought his first car with the help of a family friend, Dave Carter, he decided to wire up some speakers to the car so that when he and his friends went to Formby beach, they could play their music loud and attract girls, or 'chicks' as he would say.

My son was a character. Not satisfied with regular car speakers, he took a speaker from my hi-fi stereo system.

Years after his death, I was clearing out the attic when I came across my hi-fi and only one speaker. I had to spend a moment thinking about where the other speaker could be. It was only after talking about it and reminiscing with Lisa that we laughed, remembering Colin's plan with the car. He never did get the chance to take the car to Formby beach that summer.

On another occasion, he was at a party in Breck Road with friends and, being very sociable, he decided to try and stay past his curfew. He called home and tried to make excuses to his mum along the lines of, 'I can't get a taxi', but she wasn't having any of it.

She ordered him to come home straight away or she would walk to Breck Road to get him. It didn't matter that he was 18 and a working man in his own right. He knew to respect his mum and to do as he was told. He wasn't one to cross the line with his mum or I. He knew we were always there for each other and we were only looking out for his safety.

Colin loved to play football. It was second nature to him. The family largely supported Liverpool Football Club, and his grandad used to have a season ticket. Whenever he couldn't attend matches, I would take his place. It was therefore natural for Colin to support the same club. It was ingrained in him from birth.

He played football in the street with his mates and he started going to home games when he got his first job at the Dockers Club. Hillsborough was his first away match.

He was good at other sports, too. As a youngster, he played non-stop cricket. I remember I taught him to swim at Norris Green Baths. It was good father/son time.

We also played pool, snooker, cards, board games and lots of other games together as a family. We were always happy together as a family, whether it was just the five of us or whether it was the extended family at Grandma's on a Saturday eating ribs and pea wack soup, or at family parties.

Colin was really into his music. He liked songs like 'Real Gone Kid' by Deacon Blue and 'The Whole of the Moon' by The Waterboys. In a way, he was brought up on music.

His mum always had the radio on and I remember Colin used to tape the charts on Sunday night radio to play again, like in the car.

He was always hard-working. He started his first job when he was 16 at the Dockers Club where Ian used to work. He became their glass collector and maintained the job through his A-levels.

After he completed his schooling, he got a job with TSB Bank. He went to evening school to prepare for his banking exams. Colin loved his job and I was so proud of his progress at work, especially as he had just secured a promotion at the bank, after which he left the Dockers Club.

There was a leaving party arranged for him the following week, but it never happened as he was no longer with us.

His manager at the bank, Bill Ellaby, was best friends with Sammy Lee, who was Colin's favourite football player when he was growing up. Colin managed to get an autograph from him and, in 1992, three years after the incident, it was only fitting that Sammy Lee opened a soft room in Colin's honour at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool.

I am not sure what Colin would have gone on to be. According to Lisa, Colin used to make her watch heart transplants on TV on Sunday mornings whilst eating breakfast. He made her watch 'One Born Every Minute' type programmes, after which he would give her a lecture on being a good girl.

He was very protective of his sister. When he was old enough, his mum and I would go out on a Sunday night sometimes, and Colin and Ian and their friends would look after Lisa.

There was a time she felt she was being bullied by a girl from our street whilst walking home from school. She spoke to Colin about it and he spoke to Ian and then the bullying stopped. Ian was a little upset that she had not come to him first, but Colin was the calming influence of the three.

He was close to both Ian and Lisa, and they both took his death really badly, especially Ian. With only 18 months separating Ian and Colin, they did everything together, often socialising with each other's friends.

Colin was a responsible lad and often when they went out with friends he would have a Coke and be the designated driver home. He also used to drive Ian and me to work and drop Lisa at school.

Lisa remembers that Colin was a good dancer. He and one of his friends, Darren Brittles, taught her how to body pop when it was the dance craze in the '80s.

Colin was as lively and bright as his red hair. The night before the game we were in Liverpool Football Club Supporters' Club for Dave Carter's 21st birthday.

Colin stayed with Ian and their friends to continue partying but as it was a little late, we decided to take Lisa home. His last words to her were, 'Goodbye, good night, I will see you tomorrow'. He never did.

He was only 19 when he died. I remember him as a calm, confident, lively, sensible, intelligent, hard-working grafter. He was a well-groomed young man, who was a pleasure to know and be around. 


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