The honour of Freedom of the City will be awarded posthumously to the 96 who lost their lives at Hillsborough and to key campaigners on Thursday (22 September).
Taking place at Liverpool’s St George’s Hall, the families of the 96 will be invited to a special ceremony, hosted by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Roz Gladden, together with Mayor Joe Anderson and attended by Merseyside's Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy. During the service they will receive a specially designed scroll and a unique medal with the name of their loved one inscribed on it.
Joining them in receiving the highest civic honour will be key figures involved in the 27 year Hillsborough campaign for truth and justice. They are:
- Kenny and Marina Dalglish – Kenny was Liverpool FC’s manager at the time of the tragedy and, together with his wife Marina, represented the football club at many of the funerals of those who died and have had close contact with the Hillsborough families ever since. In addition, the couple set up the Marina Dalglish Appeal in 2005 after Marina’s successful treatment for breast cancer, and have so far raised millions of pounds for treatment of the disease in the city.
- Professor Phil Scraton – a longstanding campaigner for human rights who has worked alongside the Hillsborough families since 1989. He was a member of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, led the Panel’s research and was advisor to the families’ legal teams throughout the inquests. His book, Hillsborough: The Truth, is widely accepted as the definitive account of the disaster.
The Right Reverend Bishop James Jones, former Bishop of Liverpool and Chair of the Hillsborough Independent Panel is also set to receive Freedom of the City. As a result of his work commitments, he is unable to attend on 22 September and is set to receive the accolade at a specific ceremony in the New Year.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “When we announced we intended to give the 96 and the key Hillsborough campaigners Freedom of the City back in May, we received an overwhelming reaction from people who were proud that Liverpool was acknowledging these individuals in this special way.
“The Hillsborough campaign was a long, heart breaking 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.”
Each of the recipients of the honour will be awarded with a scroll and inscribed medal.
The medals and framed scrolls will be on public display on Wednesday 21 September (10am-5pm) at Liverpool Town Hall as a powerful visual representation of the 96 who lost their lives at Hillsborough.
Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Roz Gladden, said: “To be Lord Mayor at a time when we are bestowing the city’s highest civic honour on the 96 and those who played a key role in the fight for justice is an incredible honour.
“I’m sure it will be an emotional evening and I’m proud to represent the city as we pay this special tribute.”