Last Friday marked twenty seven years since ninety six precious and unique loved ones lost their lives at Hillsborough on April 15 1989.
The anniversary of the day is always an emotional day for the people of Merseyside. I spent the day at an annual memorial service held at Anfield stadium to remember the lives of the ninety six football supporters who went along to simply enjoy a football match but were heartbreakingly never to return home.
The service at Anfield is always a beautiful and moving tribute and the ground was filled with people paying their respects.
This year is a significant year for the families and friends of the victims as the jury has recently retired to consider the verdicts of inquests that have been taking place for now for over two years in Warrington. The families are currently waiting to find out the conclusions of the new inquests and my thoughts continue to be with them during this time. The original inquests were quashed back in 2012 following the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel.
The families have fought for twenty seven years for everybody to find out the truth of what happened that day. This year also marked the final service to be held at Anfield so it was a particularly moving occasion.
I would like to pay tribute to the families for the dignified way they have fought for the truth over the years. They have shown remarkable strength and determination whilst always maintaining dignity in the face of an unbelievable tragedy.
I also want to pay tribute to the fans who were there on the day and witnessed the atrocities. They were heroes on that day, helping with the rescue during what must have been shock and horror at what was happening.
The ninety six people we lost will never be forgotten and will always be in the hearts and thoughts of the people of Merseyside; nor will we forget all others affected. We have stood together, and always will.