Bill Esterson pays tribute to Hillsborough campaigner Anne Willi

Bill Esterson


Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson has this week paid tribute to Hillsborough campaigner Anne Williams from Formby who has died after a battle with cancer.
Anne's son 15-year-old son Kevin was one of the 96 who lost their lives at Hillsborough. Here Bill pays tribute to Anne's 23-year campaign to get justice for her son and all of the 96.

Twenty-three years ago 94 men, women and children went to a football game at Hillsborough and suffered injuries so severe they died that day. By 1993 the death toll had risen to the final number of 96.

There are many witnesses who say that many fans who died were alive well after 3.15pm, but the coroner decided that all those who died on the day were dead by 3.15pm.

Kevin Williams, a 15-year-old boy from Formby died at Hillsborough that day. There are a number of people who say that they were with Kevin up to nearly 4pm. Those people all tried to save Kevin’s life but were unable to do so as they lacked the necessary medical training. The people who tried to help Kevin include at least one police officer. Yet their testimonies were ignored by the coroner.

The suspicion from families, friends and supporters is that the 3.15pm cut off is a convenient way of avoiding evidence that lives could have been saved if ambulances had been allowed on the pitch and if police officers had been told to help people out of the Leppings Lane pens. 

A new coroner's inquest will allow evidence to be presented that Kevin was still alive after 3.15pm. That in turn will mean that recognition could be given to the families that decisions were taken that denied their loved ones medical care or rescue. Decisions that cost lives.

Those who took such disastrous decisions could be held accountable after all these years for causing the deaths of the 96 people who died, deaths which could have been prevented had action been taken as soon as it was clear there was a problem.

Anne Williams, Kevin's mum, fought from that day to get the truth about what happened at Hillsborough officially recognised. Her untimely death last week is a bitter blow for the campaign and for us all who wanted to see a determined mother get the justice she, and her family, deserved.

Anne's campaign touched so many hearts, that when it came to light that she was dying of cancer, more than 100,000 people signed an e-petition calling for a new inquest into Kevin's death.

Anne's determination to get to the truth behind her son's death uncovered crucial evidence to prove the original inquest was a sham. This then led to that inquest being quashed. New inquests are to be held, but not in time for Anne.

Anne knew all along that Hillsborough was a cover up. She sacrificed a lot to get to the truth. That sacrifice wasn't in vain. In September the Hillsborough Independent Panel released its report which detailed exactly what went on at Hillsborough and blew the lid on the scale of the cover up surrounding it.

Anne, and her fellow campaigners had gotten to the truth. But she didn't get the justice that she worked so hard for.

Just days before she died, she was determined to attend the 24th anniversary service at Anfield. She was an inspiration.

It is now all of our responsibilities to continue Anne's fight and make sure that a mother's campaign is fulfilled and justice for Kevin and all of the 96 is finally done.

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