Hillsborough: Freedom of Liverpool means ‘he will be remembered’ says Andrew Devine's parents

The parents of the 97th victim of the Hillsborough Disaster say it is 'an honour' that their son has been awarded the Freedom of Liverpool.

Andrew Devine died in July, at the age of 55, more than 32 years after he suffered serious injuries at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

His name will join the 96 other victims who were posthumously awarded the freedom of the city in September 2016, after inquests ruled they had been unlawfully killed.

Andrew Devine became the 97th victim of the Hillsborough Disaster when he died in July 2021. Credit: Family photo

Speaking for the first time, Andrew's parents, Hilary and Stanley, said they feel “proud” to see their beloved son recognised by the people of Liverpool.

Hilary said: “It’s an honour from this city. For us it means he is remembered and that is what makes it important to us.”

On 15 April 1989, the couple made the journey to Sheffield after police knocked on their door to tell them Andrew had been seriously injured.

Footage of the disaster in 1989.

Mr Devine, who was 22 at the time, was cared for in hospitals across the country for almost four years before he was well enough to be taken home, where he had 24-hour care.

His parents stayed with him in the hospital for five weeks, with footballers who played for Sheffield at the time lending a hand during that dark period.

Stanley, said: "Your undies get dirty but the Captain of England - a chap by the name of Emlyn Hughes - came in every third day and took our washing."

"He used to come in and be like 'what can we do?' Craig Johnston also," added Mrs Devine.

"Both always came through the back door. They didn't come for publicity." said Stanley.

They said during the really low times, Andrew would always do something that would lift their spirits. Hilary said: "You always hoped for better things."

The parents were told Andrew would only survive three months due to the extend of his injuries sustained during the disaster.

"He managed 32 years, so I don't think we did too bad", Stanley said proudly.

Andrew remained a huge fan of Liverpool FC, attending games with his carers and even meeting the likes of manager Jurgen Klopp.

When the club won the Champions League, Stanley said the team stopped off outside of their house in the Liverpool tour bus to show Andrew the trophy. Hilary said: "It made his day."

Following his death on in July 2021, his Mrs Devine said they have talked about Andrew "every day at some stage", saying he will always be part of the family.

His father said he is "proud of him" after the honour, which will be awarded at a Liverpool City Council meeting on Wednesday, was passed down.

Andrew is being recognised alongside Jimmy McGovern, who wrote a screenplay about Hillsborough, for his contribution to British TV, film & theatre over the past 40 years.

He said: "I've been very fortunate in that I've won awards in the past, and those awards are precious to me, but this one is even more precious because it's come from the people I've grown up with.

"It's very special."

Jimmy McGovern will also be awarded the Freedom of Liverpool alongside Andrew. Credit: ITV News