On the Friday after Hillsborough, the then leader of Liverpool City Council Keva Coombes made this plea to Lord Justice Taylor whose inquiry into the tragedy had just been set up.

‘Don’t let us down. Find out the truth and tell it loud and clear.’

Sadly it’s taken 23 years for the Hillsborough Independent Panel and access to 400,000 official documents to finally get to that truth.

I know about Keva Coombes plea because it was part of a tv programme I and a BBC team made in the aftermath of Hillsborough.

But I only heard it again yesterday for the first time since his words were broadcast.

Thanks to a colleague, I’ve had a copy of our ‘After Hillsborough’ programme for a few years now.

Such was the impact of working on the Hillsborough story, that only now have I felt able to watch it again.

Professionally, Hillsborough is the one story in my journalistic life that always felt unresolved for obvious reasons.

In the weeks afterwards, I found myself interviewing Liverpool fans who survived the disaster – footage that was later included in a BBC documentary about the causes of Hillsborough narrated by John Humphrys.

As you can imagine, it was a harrowing task yet everyone I spoke to had a quiet dignity.

Now thanks to the amazing work of the Right Reverend James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, and his tireless panel, the relatives of those who died and Liverpool as a city can hopefully find some consolation and ultimately some justice.

‘After Hillsborough’ finished on a musical note with news of plans by Gerry Marsden and Paul McCartney to re-record ‘Ferry Across The Mersey’ in aid of a charity for those affected by the disaster.

Released a few weeks later, the record went straight in at number 1 in the UK and stayed there for three weeks.

Ferry ‘Cross The Mersey – Hillsborough charity record

Perhaps the best programme about Hillsborough, which captures the awfulness of that day and the impact it’s still having on ordinary people, is this edition of ‘The Reunion’ made to mark the 20th anniversary in 2009.

The Reunion: Hillsborough – BBC iPlayer

One Response to “hillsborough”

  1. Blanche says:

    Thank you for leaving this link to ‘The Reunion’ about the Hillsborough disaster. I can send this to a friend now. I’ve actually listened to the programme 3 times and each time I’ve cried, sobbed even, rooted where I sat, transfixed by the guests re-telling the events of that day. Possibly the most unforgettable R4 programme I’ve heard on R4, so if you are reading this and haven’t heard the problem, I urge you to do so.

    The disaster lives in my mind as one of the most significant of my lifetime, even though I’m not from Liverpool, or a football fan. Over the years, I’ve watched and listened to any media content about Hillsborough because I felt now as I did then that there was a cover-up. It never sat right with me as you describe here ‘unresolved’, and I’m sure there are many of us that think similarly.

    Now, we are on the cusp finally of holding to account those that are responsible for the loss so many lost lives and subsequent ramifications. For the families, I stand with them and my hopes are that they get justice. They are a credit to their families and all of us in the UK, for holding fast for justice because nationally we all benefit from the inquiry.

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