1. ITV Report

Hillsborough families closer to the truth

Today marks 24 years since the Hillsborough disaster Photo: Press Association

Families of the 96 Hillsborough victims will attend today's annual memorial service knowing for the first time their fight for justice is nearing a successful conclusion.

September's publication of the independent panel's report into the 1989 disaster exonerated Liverpool fans and laid the blame at the door of the police and then the government for covering up the facts surrounding the tragedy.

Prime Minster David Cameron has already apologised on behalf of the country for the failings of previous administrations, and later this month a hearing will be held in London to decide the parameters for a new inquest for the victims.

After almost a quarter of a century campaigning for justice, next week's service at Anfield will still be one of sadness but behind that there will be some satisfaction.

I think it will be the first service we've had in the 24 years that we actually feel we have moved forward on everything.

From September 12 when the truth came out, and the inquest verdicts were subsequently quashed, it is the first time we have felt we haven't taken a step backwards.

It is a lot better not just for the families but also for the fans, survivors and city as a whole.

There are still the idiots who do not realise (about the truth) - you will always get that - but it has changed a lot of people's perception about Hillsborough.

They have realised 'Oh my God, there was a massive injustice done' and it is great to know that a lot of people not only in this country, but all over the world, can see that now.

We have always had a great deal of support but you see a lot more positiveness about people now.

A lot of people can walk around with a smile on their face knowing the truth is out there and that makes a great difference, I've found that myself.

The service won't differ at all because obviously you are talking about 96 people losing their lives, but I think it will make a great deal of difference for the survivors of that day and supporters.

I don't think there were a lot of celebrations (when the report was published) because the families didn't have a lot to celebrate.

They were joyous the truth came out but at the end of the day we are still the losers and that is what this is about.

– Margaret Aspinall, Hillsborough Families Support Group

It is a sentiment shared by Sheila Coleman, spokesperson for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign.

This anniversary will be the first time people will be paying their respects knowing that what they have been saying for 24 years has finally been accepted and acknowledged by the establishment.

All the other anniversaries have been shrouded with the lies and cover-ups.

The government of the day has acknowledged the facts of Hillsborough and formally acknowledged there were lies and cover-ups.

We are now sitting down with people like Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May and that is the main difference this year.

That is not to say the fight is over because the fight for accountability carries on.

– Sheila Coleman, Hillsborough Justice Campaign
The memorial clock Credit: Press Association

Yesterday two new permanent memorials to the 96 people who lost their lives were unveiled in Liverpool.

An ornate 1780s clock, from the collection of National Museums Liverpool, with its hands frozen at 3.06pm - the time the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest was stopped on April 15 - was installed at the Town Hall.

A seven-feet high bronze structure, commissioned by HJC and funded by public donations to the campaign, featuring the words 'Hillsborough Disaster - we will remember them' along with the names of all 96 victims was unveiled at theOld Haymarket.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, managing director Ian Ayre and all the club's players and staff will join Hillsborough families, survivors and thousands of supporters at today's Anfield service, at which Reds' principal owner John Henry is expected to give a reading.

Hillsborough memorial in Liverpool Credit: Press Association

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