Posted by Peter_Evo on April 16, 2004, 12:01:43 PM

For reasons best kept to myself I'd never attended the memorial service until last year. Having "broken the ice" as it were I decided that I would never miss another one.

It really doesn't matter what anniversary it is; last year was hard, this year harder still and if I'm still around for the 25th and subsequent anniversaries it will certainly be no easier. It is said that time is a great healer and yes, I suppose in most cases it is, but I honestly can't see this getting any easier with the passing of aeons.

A quick slurp in the Albert and I was ready to join the Hillsborough Justice Campaign march. Gerry from the HJC was handing out roses to the first 96 marchers but I'm sure there must have been a presence of about 150 by the start time of 1.45. To my great surprise and eternal honour Pete Carney invited me to lead the march carrying a banner with the names of the 96 embroidered on it. Sharing this honour with me was a lad called Peter Rankin.

A slow, dignified and obviously sombre march saw us wend our way from the HJC shop, up Wyver Road and into Anfield Road where the assembly stopped at the Eternal Flame. Pete Carney read his WHY WE MARCH and also read Anne Williams statement as to where she is up to with the case of her son Kevin. Sad to say no further on than she was all those years ago but Anne is a battler and will never give up, leaving no stone unturned in her quest for justice for the death of her son and bringing those culpable to book.

Of the hundreds of poems and articles written about Hillsborough Pete read my poem THAT LAD and Dave Kirby's JUSTICE BELL. I cannot begin to describe what an honour it was in the first place for Pete to deem THAT LAD worthy of reading, even more so when it was put alonside JUSTICE BELL which I have decided is the best poem I have ever read.

Taking my place in my usual seat Block 205, Row 43, Seat 105 at 2.30pm it quickly became clear that this year's attendance would easily outstrip last year's and let's hope that is repeated in subsequent years. It is also very good to see youngsters keeping up the quest for justice and also attending the service. Some of these youngsters were obviously not even born at the time of Hillsborough but they get themselves deeply involved because they know what it stands for.

I won't pretend to be religious or anything but the service was deeply moving. I managed to hold it together for most of it but the beautiful version of YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE by SFX choir had me weeping buckets and I don't mind admitting that.

I can't say I agree with everything that Trevor Hicks has done and said during his tenure as Chairman of The Hillsborough Family Support Group and in his resignation speech, but I have to say I really felt for him yesterday. Mr. Hicks like Anne Williams and Pete Carney is a person of great courage and fortitude.

It's like being at a funeral of your best mate isn't it? You do your grieving and then go have a drink or ten to celebrate the lives they've lived. It is a sort of big relief once it is all over and you can get stuck into a few ales to temporarily forget your grief - until next year that is.

Thanks to all who attended and see you all again soon hopefully.

Pete Evo 2004

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