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Hillsborough families' gift strikes a chord with local school

A ‘thank you’ donation from the Hillsborough families to a local primary school has enabled them to carry out a poignant, artistic makeover of the school reception area. 

The Year 5 choir from St Joseph’s RC Primary School, Birkenhead, sang for the families at Wallasey Town Hall last September at the ceremony to posthumously bestow the Freedom of the Borough on the 96 who lost their lives in the 1989 tragedy. 

So moved were the families by the performance of the pupils that one of the groups representing them – the Hillsborough Family Support Group – made a generous donation to school funds which has enabled them to complete an impressive mural across one wall in the school reception. 

The mural – painted by the talented local artist, Joe Venning - celebrates the school’s relationship with St Joseph’s Church and Parish, as well its role within the community and will also serve to remember three former pupils who lost their lives at Hillsborough in 1989. 

The mural was officially unveiled at a ceremony attended by Father Chris Matthews from St Joseph’s Church and Margaret Aspinall, Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group. 

Alex Turner, Headteacher St Joseph’s, said: “On a daily basis, I feel immensely proud of all the children at our wonderful school – watching them thrive, grow and develop. However, the evening we spent watching our choir sing at the Freedom ceremony for the Hillsborough families will stay with me forever. 

“As a school we were so humbled to be invited to take part in the event, and our involvement was even more poignant as three of our former pupils - Martin Traynor, Christopher Traynor and Thomas Fox - were amongst the 96 who lost their lives.” 

Alex added: “It was amazing to receive a letter from Margaret a few weeks after the ceremony not just thanking our children for their performance, but also providing us with an incredibly generous donation to school funds. It is with this donation that we have funded our mural. 

“Seeing it every day will serve as a reminder of the generous spirit of others, the talents of our wonderful children, the inspiration of an artist - and of Martin, Christopher, Thomas and all the others affected by the tragedy at Hillsborough.”

The video below shows the choir's performance at the Hillsborough service last September (singing begins around 1 min 40 seconds!)