Final preparations are being made for the service being held at Liverpool鈥檚 Anglican Cathedral this Saturday to mark the 28th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.
Memorial services will no longer take place at Anfield at the request of the families belonging to the Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG), which organised them.
But from this year, the city鈥檚 two cathedrals will take it in turn to host simple and low-key services ?an initiative of the Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend Paul Bayes, and the Archbishop of Liverpool, the Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon, in liaison with Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson.
Bishop Bayes said: 鈥淭his year鈥檚 Hillsborough Service at Liverpool Cathedral is an act of worship ?a simple, prayerful service offering the chance to continue to remember the victims of Hillsborough and pray for the families and all affected, and is open to all who find it helpful to mark the anniversary in prayerful contemplation.
鈥淲e offer prayers for all those affected by the tragedy, remembering them in our hearts and thoughts.?/p>
The half-hour service will start at 2.45pm and maintain a minute鈥檚 silence at 3.06pm. It will include simple prayers and time for silent reflection but will not offer any sermons.
Margaret Aspinall, chair of the HFSG, recently told the ECHO: 鈥淲hile the Anfield service has now finished, at the request of the families belonging to the HFSG, who organised it, the city of Liverpool will obviously never forget the 96. And this annual service will give those people who wish to mark the anniversary in a formal way a chance to reflect in one of our two cathedrals.?/p>
ECHO editor Ali Machray stressed: 鈥淚n accord with its understated intention, the ECHO will not be covering this year鈥檚 service as a news story and will observe the same protocol in future years. We trust that all other media organisations will observe the same respectful stance.?/p>
Liverpool Cathedral has respectfully requested that the media do not send representatives to the service as it is 鈥渁 private act of worship鈥? while the Bishop of Liverpool said he would like to thank the media for their support in not attending.