Hillsborough stories: Philip Hammond
A schoolboy from Liverpool, Philip Hammond travelled to Hillsborough with a friend, Ian Southgate, who survived the tragedy.
This is the full statement to the inquests from his mother, Hilda Hammond:
I am Hilda Hammond, speaking on behalf of the Hammond family, and will say as follows in relation to our son, Philip Hammond:
Our son, Philip Hammond, born on 8 December, 1974, died aged 14 years. I am here to give a pen portrait of our son.
Although I am very nervous, I consider it an honour and a privilege to be given the opportunity to give you all an insight into the character of our lovely son, and I would like to thank the coroner for allowing me the opportunity to do so.
Philip was a typical 14-year-old child of the 80s. I say this because 14-year-olds today are a lot more mature and worldly wise in many ways than a child of the 80s.
Philip was a very sensible, caring person. He and his brother Graeme and their friends were very much into sporting games and riding their bikes.
Computers were in their infancy. There were no mobile phones and friendship, playing sport, anything that involved a ball - football, basketball, cricket, golf - was central to their social world.
They were also very active members of the Boys' Brigade, members of the band playing in numerous competitions over the years. They went camping and did a lot of charity work.
I remember one Christmas when they were visiting one of the old people's homes in the area with the Boys' Brigade, as they often did, they were told they could bring the residents some sweets.
When asking me to get the sweets, Philip said, 'Mum, they are very, very old, so don't get boiled sweets, as they could choke, and toffees might stick to their teeth. Mind you, a lot of them don't have teeth, so I think we had better stick to chocolate'.
He enjoyed the Boys' Brigade and social activities that went with it. I have included an article below that Philip had written for their magazine on a football match they had recently played.
He was 13 years old when he wrote this. I think this explains far better than I ever could his fairness and compassion for the game:
"Football. Club football, the 11th versus the 9th [they are the Boys' Brigade teams]. 'The first shock of the afternoon was when half of our team turned up at Jericho Lane only to find out that the match had been switched to St Margaret's field because of the state of Jericho's pitches.
The game eventually got under way with us playing against the wind for the first half. The 9th, who had beaten us 9-0 the week before, drew first blood and a few minutes later added another.
But we were by no means finished. Dave Monks went close and, after some pressure, Dave Williams gave Chris Robinson, ex-11th, no chance with a great shot. He kept up the pressure.
I thought I had equalised, but my goal was disallowed for offside. Minutes later it really was 2-2. Dave Monks' shot hit the post and I followed it up to hit in the rebound. Half time came with both level pegging.
We had the wind at our backs for the second half but paid the price for some slack play early on.
The 9th regained their lead with a fluke. There was a scramble in our area when a defender cleared the ball and it struck a 9th player and went just inside the post.
But we kept our heads up and carried on attacking. Ian Southgate sent a lovely ball upfield. As I chased, their goalie came out and we collided, but Monksie followed up with the ball and put the ball into an empty net.
We thought we had clinched a replay, but it was not to be. A good move by the 9th left one of their men free on the wing and he ran up and scored giving them the lead again.
We then threw caution to the wind, pressing forward with only seconds left. We had a strong penalty appeal turned down when a defender seemed to handle a ball inside the area. Seconds later, the full-time whistle sounded and we were out of the cup.
Credit must go to Gavin Baldwin who produced a string of fine saves throughout the match.
Final score, the 9th, 4, the 11th, 3."
'Love of sport'
He wrote that for the monthly magazine that came out. We received a letter last year from Philip's school, Calderstones School, asking if they could name the sports hall after Philip in recognition of his life and sporting achievement at the school.
In particular, because of his love and enthusiasm for the sport in general. The letter stated that there was a unanimous vote to name it the Philip Hammond Sports Hall.
We were so proud to attend the opening and to find out that they were still awarding the Philip Hammond award for individual sporting achievement every year. All this 25 years after his death, an honour indeed.
Philip would join any team. He once came home and told his dad he'd joined the school chess team. His dad said, 'But you can't play chess', and Philip replied 'I know, but they were short, I'll get a book from the library'. Needless to say, he never made the Grand Master.
Second to football, Philip's passion was golf. He would play every opportunity and was a member of Allerston junior golf team. During the Easter holidays of 1989, Philip had been on a skiing holiday with the school.
'First away match'
On his return, the clocks had gone forward and the days longer and the weather unseasonably warm and sunny. Philip seized this opportunity to be out in the fresh air and went playing golf every evening after school.
The Friday before the match at Hillsborough was no exception. He went to play golf as usual. His Dad picked him up afterwards and he came back excited, full of the match that he was going to attend the next day, his first away match.
He was going with Ian, who was a fellow Boys' Brigade member who was 19. As he was playing in the golf tournament on the Sunday morning after the match, he said, 'I need to get everything ready because I don't know what time I'll be back from the match'.
So that Friday evening he cleaned his clubs, his golf shoes, got his clothes ready and excitedly went to bed. On the Sunday morning, there was a telephone call. It was Colin, one of Philip's best friends who was to partner him in the golf tournament, wanting to know why Philip hadn't turned up.
I don't know who spoke to him and had to relay the awful news of his death. They told me later Colin didn't speak and just burst out crying.
Philip loved to make people laugh. I remember a parents' evening, his English teacher telling me she always put Philip's composition book at the bottom of the pile because she would end the marking with a smile on her face.
Sometime after he died, I met one of his best friends' mums when shopping. I asked how Matthew was and she said he was still missing Philip, terribly.
'We miss his laughter'
One day he came home from school and said they had to write an essay for homework on what makes them laugh. She asked him, 'Well, what makes you laugh?', and he said, 'Phil used to make me laugh but I couldn't write about him because it would be too hard'.
I have spoken about Philip's kind, caring nature and his love for simple pleasures in life, but of course he was a teenager, and with this, as every parent knows, came the tantrums and foot stomping, upstairs to his bedroom after shouting, 'I hate this house', but he would eventually come down and apologise.
One time he said to me, 'I'm sorry, Mum, I just don't know what makes me act like that'. I said, 'Don't worry, it's probably your hormones', to which he replied, 'Hormones? I thought only women had those'.
I could go on all day, but I hope I have given you a brief insight into our lovely son's personality and character and that you can understand how much we miss his laughter, his love and his kind nature. '
Our lovely son, Philip, whose life, hopes and dreams were so needlessly taken from him' is what is written on his gravestone. Hopefully, you can understand how much we miss him.
We were certainly blessed to have such a lovely boy, even though it was only for 14 short years. We still miss him so very much.