Kenny Dalglish and the 96 among those awarded the Freedom of Liverpool

22 September 2016

Kenny Dalglish and key Hillsborough campaigners were awarded the Freedom of the City of Liverpool on Thursday, along with posthumous honours for the 96.


At an event held at St. George’s Hall on Thursday evening, the 96 to lose their lives to the Hillsborough disaster became the first to be posthumously awarded the Freedom of Liverpool.

Dalglish and his wife, Marina, were also honoured, as well as Professor Phil Scraton, who served as primary author of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report.

The Right Reverend James Jones is also in line to collect his award, but will do so in the new year.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, September 22, 2016: Margret Aspinall and Kenny Dalglish with their medals before a Conferment of the Freedom of the City of Liverpool for the 96 Victims of the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster at the St. George's Hall. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, September 22, 2016: Margret Aspinall and Kenny Dalglish with their medals before a Conferment of the Freedom of the City of Liverpool for the 96 Victims of the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster at the St. George's Hall. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, September 22, 2016: Trevor Hicks and Margret Aspinall of the Hillsborough Family Support Group during a Conferment of the Freedom of the City of Liverpool for the 96 Victims of the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster at the St. George's Hall. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Margaret Aspinall and Trevor Hicks, mother of James and father of Sarah and Vicki respectively, were on hand to represent the 96.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, September 22, 2016: Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson gives a speech during a Conferment of the Freedom of the City of Liverpool for the 96 Victims of the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster at the St. George's Hall. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, September 22, 2016: Kenny Dalglish receiving his medal during a Conferment of the Freedom of the City of Liverpool for the 96 Victims of the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster at the St. George's Hall. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A ceremony, held in the Great Hall, saw Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Roz Gladden, present the honours.

The 96 were given individual scrolls and medals, displayed at the city’s Town Hall on Wednesday, to mark their Freedom of Liverpool.

Furthermore, 96 chairs were left empty at the ceremony, which saw a number of the Hillsborough families attend.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, September 22, 2016: A general view of the St. George's Hall before a Conferment of the Freedom of the City of Liverpool for the 96 Victims of the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, September 22, 2016: Professor Phil Scraton receives a standing ovation during a Conferment of the Freedom of the City of Liverpool for the 96 Victims of the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster at the St. George's Hall. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Scraton received a standing ovation at the event, marking his contribution to the 27-year fight for justice, and speaking on his award, he said: “To receive this honour alongside the 96 is not only special, it’s incredible.”

“I would trade everything for them to be here and me not to,” he added.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, September 22, 2016: Some of the 96 candles lit during a Conferment of the Freedom of the City of Liverpool for the 96 Victims of the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster at the St. George's Hall. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ahead of the event, Liverpool legend Alan Hansen said: “I think it’s a great tribute to them after the long fight and the hard work, the success that they deserve.”

Mayor Joe Anderson said the posthumous honour “demonstrates the importance of those people” to Liverpool, vowing the 96 would be “forever immortalised in the history of our city.”

Anderson also paid tribute to the fight for justice, finally achieved in April of this year:

“The Hillsborough campaign was a long, heartbreaking journey for all involved. It seemed fitting that after the latest inquests brought the families the truth and justice outcome that they had fought so hard for, we mark this monumental moment by awarding the 96, and those outstanding individuals who have given them their support, with the city’s highest honour.

“The 96 paid the ultimate price for the failings and actions of others, and I hope this tribute will show their families and friends that this city will never forget them, and that we thank those individuals who fought for the truth and played a pivotal role in the 27-year campaign.”

Mothers, fathers, siblings and children collected honours for the 96 one by one, in what serves as a fitting award for those who lost their lives in the tragedy in Sheffield in 1989.

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