Margaret Aspinall, the chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, has explained the plans to mark the 30th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster in April 2019.
Margaret, you’ve talked about marking the 30th anniversary of Hillsborough at Anfield in April. Can you update us on the changes?
As everybody knows, the past two years we’ve been alternating between the two cathedrals, but on the 30th anniversary we’ve got to have a private service in a room at Anfield - not on the Kop - and it will be families only. And people will be wondering: ‘Why is that?’ Because obviously we would have liked all supporters and fans to be there and to be open for everybody. But unfortunately, we can’t do that at this moment in time, because of the proceedings that are going on in Preston. We have to be extra careful and extra vigilant to make sure we don’t make it too big. So that’s why we decided to just have families only.
What are the plans to mark the anniversary across the city?
I’ve had a meeting with the city council and the Mayor, Joe Anderson. The city will be holding a minute’s silence and it will come to a standstill at 3.06pm. The tunnels will be closed, buses will be stopped, the ferries will be [sounding] their horns and that’s just for one minute at 3.06pm. They are in discussions, at the moment, about holding a service at either the Metropolitan or the Anglican cathedral. They’re not too sure yet. But [there will be] no media coverage whatsoever. There will be nobody doing any speeches, except for obviously the clergy. But they are still in discussions over that. So, the city will be marking it in some way. But [they will be] extra vigilant, extra careful. And can I also add as well, I would be very, very grateful - the families would be very, very grateful - if nothing goes on social media about this, because nobody wants the trial to be held or stopped. So please, be extra vigilant to what’s said and what’s done.
What’s the message to the supporters?
We can’t thank the supporters [enough]. Not just the supporters, but the city as a whole, for all the support we have had over all the years. And I do understand it’s a very important time [for them]. On April 15, it’s obviously very important, in the 30th year, [to remember] the deaths of the 96 and so many people who were injured. But under circumstances that are no fault of our own, we have to be very, very careful. But I’d like to thank all the supporters for what they have done over the years, in supporting the families, and especially the survivors, who are still suffering to this day. So I’d just like to thank them all on behalf of all of us and [to say] please, please do not say anything that can prejudice any trial that is going ahead.