Liverpool’s highest honour will be awarded to the 96 people who died at Hillsborough as well as key figures involved in the 27-year justice campaign.
The Freedom of the City will be given posthumously for the first time ever to honour the Liverpool Football Club fans who lost their lives at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground on 15 April 1989.
Right Reverend James Jones, the former Bishop of Liverpool who chaired the Hillsborough Independent Panel; longstanding campaigner and supporter of the Hillsborough Families, Professor Phil Scraton, who led the panel’s research team and also wrote the book ‘Hillsborough: The Truth’; and Kenny Dalglish who managed Liverpool FC at the time of the disaster, along with his wife Marina will also be awarded for their part in the fight for justice.
The announcement comes after an inquest jury last month concluded that the 96 who died were unlawfully killed.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson says: “The fight for truth and justice over the last 27 years has involved many people, not least the families of the 96 who we honoured with the Freedom of the City back in 2009.
“Today we are announcing that we want to bestow the honour on those who died, together with a number of people who have played a pivotal role over many, many years – not just in the Hillsborough campaign, but who, through their actions, have enhanced the life of the city as well.”
In addition Liverpool City Council will also present the Citizen of Honour award to a number of other people who played an important role in the campaign, and the recipients will be announced after a consultation has taken place with the Hillsborough families over who will receive it.
Also for the first time, those receiving both the Freedom of the City and Citizen of Honour, along with the families of the 96, will also receive a specially commissioned medal together with the traditional scroll. A brass ‘Freedom of Liverpool’ plaque will be placed in the town hall honouring the 96.
Margaret Aspinall CBE, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, says: “I am absolutely delighted that the city has chosen to honour the 96 in this way as it is a wonderful tribute to their memory.
“I couldn’t be any more thrilled that Bishop James, Phil Scraton and Kenny and Marina are also being recognised as they have all given fantastic support to the families in their own special way over the years and they thoroughly deserve this honour.”
A council meeting will be held in the near future to formalise the decision to confer the honours, with the ceremony taking place at St George’s Hall later this year.