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Vigil in Liverpool to mark the release of Hillsborough documents


The city of Liverpool will mark the release of documents and a report about the Hillsborough Disaster with a sombre public vigil in the heart of the city, it was announced on Monday.

Government papers about the 1989 tragedy, in which 96 Liverpool fans died, will be made public on 12 September when a report from the Hillsborough Independent Panel is released.

The panel was established to secure maximum possible disclosure of all documents relating to the disaster. It has assessed documents from more than 80 organisations running in to more than 400,000 pages.

A vigil will take place in Liverpool at St George's Plateau near to Liverpool Lime Street station. Mayor Joe Anderson, who is leading the vigil, said it would allow the city to support the victims' families at a very difficult time.

The fans died following a crush on overcrowded terraces at Sheffield Wednesday's ground on 15 April 1989. The government and police documents relating to the tragedy will be released along with a report from the panel.

The Liverpool Mayor said the release of the documents and the report would be an extremely emotional and traumatic occasion, as it is the day the Hillsborough families and the city has waited 23 years for.

"The people of Liverpool need to show our full support to the families and let them know that we are with them at this very difficult time," he said of the vigil. Anderson said all people have wanted was the truth be known and for justice for the deceased, adding that: "Everyone in Liverpool knows someone who is touched by the tragedy."

The vigil will begin at 6pm on 12 September and will include prayers from faith leaders, readings and a choral performance. People are being invited to gather at St George's Plateau an hour before for the sombre and respectful service.

During the vigil, the names of the 96 Liverpool fans who died will be read out and 96 candles will be lit. It is expected to conclude at 7pm. Motorists are being advised that Lime Street and St John's Lane, nearby, will be closed from 4pm and diversions will be in place.

Margaret Aspinall, of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, whose son James, 18, was one of those who died, said she thought it was a lovely idea and she told the Liverpool Daily Post that it will be "a very emotional day." She said: "I am so appreciative of this being done. It is not only about the 96, it's also about our city, the fans and survivors."

The Hillsborough Independent Panel, which has examined thousands of documents relating to the disaster, has been chaired by the Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Helen Carter, for guardian.co.uk on Monday 3rd September 2012 13.42 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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