Ninety-six bells rang out through the centre of Liverpool as people came together to remember the victims of the Hillsborough disaster, killed 30 years ago.
Crowds gathered outside St George’s Hall with banners reading “never forgotten” and to lay flowers in memory of the 96 football fans who lost their lives in a crush at the 1989 FA cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.
They stood in silence at 3.06pm – the time the match at Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium was stopped – as pictures of the men, women and children who died were displayed.
Louise Brookes, whose brother Andrew died in the disaster, said he had been dead for four years longer than he was alive.
“He was only 26 when he died and he had his whole future and whole life ahead of him. I really struggle with that,” she said.
Steve Rotheram, who was at the match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on 15 April 1989 and now represents the Liverpool city region as mayor, said: “We have never forgotten and we will never forget the 96.
“It will be a very raw day for those people affected, not just by the loss of a loved one but who were there, the survivors for instance, and those people who witnessed the events on the day.
“It’s something that in my mind’s eye I can still conjure up images of because I was there on the day.”
Former Liverpool Football Club captain Steven Gerrard, whose cousin, Jon-Paul Gilhooley, 10, was the youngest victim of the tragedy, was among those to pay tribute on social media.
He posted a picture of the Hillsborough memorial on Twitter and wrote: “Never forgotten.”
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson and Lord Mayor Christine Banks laid wreaths on behalf of the people of Liverpool.
Mr Anderson said the anniversary was an “emotional day” and a “milestone”.
He said: “Today we want to provide the city with an opportunity to be here, lay tributes and pay their respects and their thoughts to the families.
“I hope it gives them comfort that the city is thinking of them today.”
A memorial service is under way at Liverpool Cathedral at and The Kop at Anfield will be open between 1pm and 4pm for those who want to sit for a period of reflection.