Liverpool holds final Hillsborough memorial service at Anfield
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — A memorial service at Anfield for the 96 victims of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster was held for the final time Friday.
The event has been held annually at Liverpool's stadium since the tragedy in Sheffield on April 15, 1989. The names of the 96 victims were read out, and a minute's silence followed across Liverpool at 3:06 p.m., the exact time that the human crush occurred at Hillsborough Stadium 27 years ago.
Liverpool's anthem, "You'll never walk alone," was sung to finish the service.
Reverend Kelvin Bolton opened the service with a short speech, saying that this 27th anniversary was "yet another milestone in your (the families) long journey."
A number of current and former Liverpool players were in attendance, including Jamie Carragher and Kenny Dalglish. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp also attended the service.
A minute's silence was also held before Liverpool's Europa League match against Borussia Dortmund on Thursday.
"I want the families to know that we offer our thoughts and prayers," Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said. "Although it's the final Hillsborough memorial, it doesn't mean it is the last time this city will remember the 96. They will never be forgotten."
In January, the relatives of the victims decided that this year's memorial would be the last, stating they had "unanimously agreed" to stop the services.
The Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and Town Hall's bells tolled 96 times, flags at civic buildings were flown at half-staff, and other events were also being held across the city.
A jury looking into how the fans died has started considering conclusions this month. Anderson told the crowd that the city "stands with them" as they await the verdict.