The 97th victim of the Hillsborough disaster, Andrew Devine, has been posthumously awarded the Freedom of Wirral at an extraordinary meeting of the Council last night (Monday 21 March, 2022).
The Council agreed unanimously to grant the borough’s highest honour to Andrew, who sadly passed away, aged 55, in July last year due to complications resulting from the injuries he received at the Hillsborough stadium disaster in April 1989.
The 96, including 12 people from Wirral, had previously been awarded of the Freedom of the Borough on 15 September 2017.
The Mayor of Wirral, Councillor George Davies, said, “Wirral Council stood united this evening in support of Andrew and his family.
“His name now joins those of the 96 on the civic ‘Roll of Honour’ where they will be remembered and honoured for posterity.”
Members of Andrew’s family, including his mother Hilary and father Stanley, attended the ceremony at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton, where they were presented with a commemorative scroll bearing the official seal of the borough.
The motion to grant the honour was made by the Leader of Wirral Council, Councillor Janette Williamson, who said, “Honouring Andrew, as we have for the 96, is important for the whole Council.
“We have a duty to ensure that future generations know what happened at Hillsborough and how the 97 men, women and children who went to watch a football match were unlawfully killed. The shameful aftermath of that day must be remembered and learnt-from, too.
“Future generations should also know of our pride in all those who fought for truth and justice with such courage and tenacity.”
Speaking on behalf of the family, Andrew’s sister, Wendy Mason, said, “Our family are still devastated by the loss of Andrew after loving and caring for him for so long after his life was catastrophically changed at Hillsborough. We are extremely grateful for the love and support shown to us by so many since Andrew’s death and, most particularly, other Hillsborough families whose care, compassion and experience have helped us tremendously over recent months.
“We are grateful to the Mayor and Mayoress and Wirral Council for welcoming us and honouring Andrew, alongside the other 96 who lost their lives due to Hillsborough, and for committing to ensure that our loved ones are always remembered.”
The riverside Memorial Gardens to the 96 at Wallasey town hall will now be rededicated to acknowledge all 97 who were unlawfully killed at Hillsborough.