Hillsborough families, survivors and supporters are planning to walk 96 miles from Sheffield to Anfield this April to say thank-you for the widespread support they have received over the past 25 years.

Their long journey will begin in the early hours of Saturday, April 19 at the memorial dedicated to the 96 outside Hillsborough stadium.

The group will then walk for 96 miles continuously until they reach Anfield, approximately 36 hours later, outside the eternal flame alongside the Shankly Gates on Sunday, April 20.

The demanding route is identical to the Reds' Rose Walk, a hike carried out in December 2012 by a group of Liverpool supporters - some of whom are taking part in this event.

Steve Kelly, who lost his brother Michael at Hillsborough, was unable to take part last year - and it was his idea to do the walk again this April, as a fitting way to mark the 25th anniversary of the tragedy.

Steve, who is a passionate Evertonian, explained how the walk will be a thank-you - rather than a fundraiser.

"Over the years we have had that much support from people, both financially and more importantly emotionally," he said. "So this is a way in which we can turn around and show our thanks.

"We have nothing else to give but thanks. But it's from the heart and we're going to show that we mean it by walking 96 long miles.

"I was injured last year - I'd had an operation on my foot, so I couldn't take part. But I always like to get involved and show my support somehow for anyone who has helped us.

"It will be nice - it'll be a community-based event and we hope the community come out and support us."

Sue Roberts, whose 24-year-old brother, Graham, died at Hillsborough will also be taking part. She explained: "This is a thank-you to the survivors and the fans and football fans around the country and beyond for their support over the last 25 years.

"The message of the whole event is that we're bringing our loved ones home from Sheffield with us. We're stopping off at stadiums of various clubs along the way - and that's a way of showing our gratitude to the wider public for their support.

"We'll be covered in blisters by the end of it and we'll all be shattered, but it will all be worth it. The last part of the walk from the Showcase cinema and then from Goodison Park should be special. I think it will be a case of sheer adrenaline helping us along."

The walk will visit the football grounds of Huddersfield, Oldham, Manchester City, Bury, Bolton, Wigan and Everton en route, as a symbol of thanks to the wider public football community.

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Once the walk has been completed, 96 roses, each bearing the name of a loved one lost on April 15, 1989, will be laid at the Anfield memorial.

The plan is for family members and walkers to pass on each rose to a young person in the crowd, and for all 96 flowers to then be placed together in one arrangement at the memorial. 

Cherie Brewster, event co-ordinator, explained the plan in more detail: "We'll arrive at Hillsborough to start the walk at about midnight on Friday, where the 96 names and a poem will be read out.

"Our time there will be brief, as it will be a hugely emotional moment for many people. Some have not been back to Hillsborough since April 1989.

"From there we'll walk, breaking for the occasional stop. We'll stop at various clubs and we'll be welcomed in once again by the people at Oldham Athletic, who have shown us fantastic support.

"I'd like to give a special mention to Latic supporters Richard Attwood and Tracy Wright as well as OAFC management, David Broadbent, sales and marketing executive and Neil Joy, CEO.

"We'll then arrive at Goodison Park at 11am on Sunday, before walking to Anfield for around 12am, where we'll look to gather all the roses together.

"It will be emotional and symbolic. In giving each rose a name, it will show that we have brought each of the 96 back home with us on our journey."

A group of up to 50 people, including family members, survivors and supporters are taking part.

Steve said: "It's about togetherness. It's about the Merseyside community; it's about the football community. We've come together to show our thanks for all the support over the years.

"I just believe that we're together. We've been fighting for the same goal. I want us all to walk together and say that this is the city of Liverpool, this is Merseyside and we're coming home."

The walkers are inviting anyone wishing to show their support to join the event either at the Showcase Cinema on the East Lancs Road on Sunday morning about 10am, or outside Goodison Park at 11am.

The organisers would also like to inform those wishing to join, that the area surrounding Anfield Road will need to be vacated before 1pm prior to the day's match between Everton and Manchester United.

To learn more about the walk, follow the team on social media. To view their Facebook account, click here. You can follow the walkers on Twitter @25yearsYNWA.