The city of Liverpool will come to a standstill today as it remembers the 96 lives lost in the Hillsborough disaster 25 years ago.
A silence will be observed across the city and church bells will toll 96 times at 3.06pm, the exact time a quarter of a century ago that Liverpool FC's fateful FA Cup match was abandoned as the tragedy unfolded.
The silence will be observed at Anfield, where loved ones of victims will join players, staff and senior representatives of the club among 24,000 people attending the annual memorial service.
Brendan Rodgers, the current manager, will give a reading at the service as well as Roberto Martinez, manager of neighbours and city rivals Everton.Thousands of football scarves will be laid out on the pitch in the shape of '96', donated from fans and clubs across the UK and beyond after an appeal from Liverpool FC for scarves to show a symbol of unity across fan rivalries.
Across the city, public transport will be halted at 3.06pm, the Mersey Ferry will blow its funnels, and barriers at both Mersey Tunnels will be lowered, as the bells ring out at the Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool Parish Church, the town hall and other civic buildings and churches.
– Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson
This year marks a pivotal moment in the history of the Hillsborough tragedy and the families' long fight for justice.Not only is it the 25th anniversary of the tragedy but we also have the start of fresh inquests into how the 96 lost their lives.
We will never forget those who died at Hillsborough, and this is a day for us to unite as a city and remember each one, and also their families and friends left behind.
I urge everyone in Liverpool, and across the region, to observe the minute's silence, stand shoulder to shoulder and remember the 96 fans that went to a football match and never returned home. Our thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones today.
At Lime Street, the city's main railway station, a huge screen will display a photo of each of those who lost their lives on April 15 1989 in the crush on the Leppings Lane terraces at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground as the cup semi-final versus Nottingham Forest got under way.
Some of those present at today's memorial are witnesses in the new inquest into Britain's worst sporting disaster, which began last month and resumes next week.The original accidental deaths verdicts in 1991 were quashed in the High Court in 2012 after a long campaign by the fans' families.
Last weekend football stadiums across the country fell silent to mark the 25 anniversary.
Today's memorial at Anfield is scheduled to start at 2.45pm