Stuart Paul William Thompson

Stuart Paul William Thompson

Age: 17

One of six children, Stuart Thompson left school just a year before his death at Hillsborough. He had begun an apprenticeship as a joiner and had plans to travel the world.

Stuart went to the game with his brother, Martin, who told the inquests: "He had a mature attitude for a 17-year-old. Stuart believed in being fair and just. He was very highly thought of, very popular and very well liked."

Portrait by his late father Michael Thompson

Stuart was born on September 16, 1971. Stuart was one of six children. He had three older brothers, Richard, Ivan and Martin.

He had one younger sister, Eileen. He also had a younger brother, Matthew, who was stillborn. Richard and Stuart shared the same birthday, on September 16.

Stuart and Martin were close in age. While growing up, Stuart and Martin were very close to each other. They would spend a lot of time together. Martin and Stuart were at the match together on April 15, 1989.

Stuart was a happy child. He had plenty of friends. He had a comical personality. He always had a smile on his face.

Stuart went to primary school at Our Lady of Formby and moved to Holy Family Secondary School in Crosby. He enjoyed school and always did well in exams.

He was very sporty. He enjoyed playing and watching football. Stuart had always been a fan of Liverpool Football Club. He was also keen on cricket.

Stuart used to spend time out with his friends and playing out in the garden.

When Stuart was younger, I would take him to the pantomime at Christmas with his grandmother. He always looked forward to that. He really enjoyed having days out. We would also have days out on coaches travelling to see country estates.

We would go to Rhyl and Stuart really enjoyed going on the fairground. Stuart's favourite day out was to the zoo. I used to take Stuart to Chester Zoo where he loved to see the animals.

As Stuart used to do his own thing at home, our days out as a family gave us an opportunity to spend some quality family time together. When I think back to my memories of Stuart, it is our days out that I remember.

When I see the zoo, the fairground or the places on TV, memories of Stuart come flooding back.

Stuart had begun his apprenticeship as a joiner with a local firm.

Stuart had a friend when he died who left a wreath at his grave saying 'Gone but never forgotten'.

He was a very thoughtful person. I learnt afterwards that before going to the match that morning, Stuart had gone out to collect milk for his mother. This was typical of Stuart. He always used to do things to help his mum.

I was told about Stuart's death when I was at work. My wife collected me and brought me home. She sat me down and told me that Stuart had died at the football match.

I couldn't believe it and I was shocked. On Monday April 17, 1989, I travelled to Sheffield with my wife. I spoke to the police and a priest.

I was taken to a room with a glass window. I was able to see Stuart through the window.

I later visited Stuart's grave and put flowers down for him. We put a tree on the grave.

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Portrait by his brother Martin Thompson

I, Martin Thompson, on behalf of myself and my mother Mrs Winifred Thompson, will say as follows:

As you have just heard, Stuart Thompson was born on September 16, 1971. He was my brother and he was my friend. He was only two years younger than me and one of five siblings. As a group of friends, we all hung out together, all ages.

We shared the same room and my earliest memories of him were playing with soldiers and play fighting.

I remember once getting up on Christmas morning and he got up before me and opened my presents and then realised afterwards and opened another set and he was made up.

Stuart was into nature and had some really exotic pets. He once sent off for some snakes in the post without telling my mum or any of the family. You can imagine the shock my mum got when she opened this box.

Then, when he got bored with the snakes, he swapped them for a ferret, didn't tell my mum again, and kept it under the bed. This thing stunk, and one day she came in thinking 'What the hell is that?' That's the sort of lad he was.

He liked fishing too. He once bought some maggots and didn't realise they would turn into flies. He kept them in the fridge, once again without telling my mum, with the lid off. These flies were flying around the house.

He liked music and we all shared the same tastes. He liked The Jam, Peter Gabriel, and we often swapped albums in those days and played them in the second bedroom.

He'd just started taking driving lessons before Hillsborough. He wasn't the most academic person but he did love sports. He played a lot of cricket and football and technically he was a good footballer.

We used to go to a lot of football matches back then. It was about 90p, so it wasn't £50 like it is now, so kids could go.

He went to his first football match when he was seven, against Stoke, with my older brother Richard, who, as you just heard then, shared the same birthday even though they were seven years apart.

We were very close and we often looked out for each other as a group and as brothers. The year before Hillsborough, I went off travelling. I went around Europe and America and I came back with all these tales and he really wanted to do this.

But when I came back, it was hard to get a job, so I told him, 'As you're leaving school, get an apprenticeship first, become something and then move on and do what you want', so that's what he did.

But before he did that, he left school and he went to northern France with a group of lads and they all just slept on the beach for four days in sleeping bags. That was about the sum total of his only journey abroad.

He had the world at his feet at the time of his death. He was an apprentice joiner and he was determined to be a success.

I knew that he would have been, because he was a practical person, creative and had good hand-eye co-ordination. He made a toolbox, which I still have to this day in my garage.

He had a mature attitude for a 17-year-old and he was never wrong - he knew right from wrong. He believed in being fair and just.

He was conscientious, never late for work. I don't think he ever had a sick day and he wanted to excel in his career.

My mum would like to add he was a very thoughtful and generous son. He would often do the shopping and go and help my gran. He was very highly thought of, very popular and very well liked.

Stuart left school the year before, as I said, and he was moving on to the next stage of his life. He was no longer a child, but he wasn't yet an adult. He didn't have time to blossom.

He was dearly loved by all his family and all his friends. 


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