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Freedom of Wirral for the 96

On Friday, September 15, Wirral Council officially bestowed the Freedom of the Borough on the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster.  

The day started with a welcome for the families in Liverpool, before they boarded a private Mersey ferry for a ceremony led by the Bishop of Birkenhead where the Mayor of Wirral and Lord Mayor of Liverpool cast a wreath into the river. This was followed by red roses from all the families.   

An Extraordinary Meeting of the council began at 5pm, where Freedom of the Borough was granted to the 96, 12 of whom came from Wirral. This was received on behalf of the families by Steve Kelly, who lost his brother at Hillsborough. The focus then turned to outside Wallasey Town Hall where the gardens on the banks of the Mersey were dedicated as a permanent memorial.  

Actress Sue Johnston led the proceedings; speeches were given by Leader of the Council Cllr Phil Davies,  Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram and Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group Margaret Aspinall. The Wirral Pipe Band, joined by the Massed Merseyside Pipe Band, played throughout the dedication.  

Following this was the civic ceremony which began with the year 5 and 6 choir from St Joseph’s Primary school in Birkenhead singing 'We all stand together' and 'You’ll Never Walk Alone'. The Mayor of Wirral made a speech before a representative of for each of the 96 was welcomed on stage to receive a commemorative medal, and later, their individual Freedom scroll.  

Further details and photographs will be included in the forthcoming edition of Wirral View, and there are posts and videos on Wirral Council's Facebook and Twitter feeds.