North East Wales

Hillsborough disaster 'will never be forgotten' by fans

Hillsborough disaster
Image caption The crush happened at the Leppings Lane end of the stadium, where Liverpool supporters were standing

A Liverpool fan from Flintshire who was at Hillsborough 27 years ago said he understands why a memorial service at Anfield will be the last.

Brian Purcell, chairman of Deeside Liverpool Supporters Club, organised two coaches to take local fans to watch the FA Cup semi final on 15 April 1989.

Ninety-six fans were fatally injured in a terrace crush at Sheffield Wednesday's ground.

Deeside club member John McBrien, 18, from Holywell, was among them.

Mr Purcell managed to leave the ground safely, along with his son, Andrew. But when he and another committee member, Roger Parry, checked their lists, they realised Mr McBrien was missing.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tributes left on the pitch at Anfield during Friday's service

Mr Purcell said: "Roger and I decided to stay in Sheffield to try to find John who was the only one missing from the group we took up.

"We went everywhere. We went in the Hallamshire hospital, we went in the community centres. Eventually, we went back to the Hillsborough football ground.

"We were ushered in, we reported who we were to the police...there was a board with all the photos on.

"Eventually, I said to Roger, and Roger agreed, it was a photo of John... and we were led into the gym, and we then identified John."

Image copyright Hillsborough Inquests
Image caption John McBrien was one of 96 football fans fatally injured in a terrace crush at Hillsborough

Mr Purcell said he has carried the memory of the events of that day as much as anybody else and that going to the memorial services each year at Anfield had been a help.

"When you go in that ground you get the feeling that we're all together and we stand together in it."

He said he understood why Friday's service would be the last, because of the toll the intervening 27 years had taken on the Hillsborough Family Support Group.

"It will certainly never be forgotten by us," he said.

The Hillsborough Family Support Group said it hoped the final service would "provide the families with some closure" as the conclusion of the new inquests approaches.

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