Hillsborough Justice Campaign show appreciation for Brian Percival's gesture

THE HILLSBOROUGH JUSTICE CAMPAIGN (HJC) have voiced their gratitude to Emmy winner Brian Percival for his help in bringing more awareness to the situation that sees survivors and families of the victims of Hillsborough still waiting for justice 22 years after the disaster.

Brian received the award – “Outstanding directing for a mini-series, movie or a dramatic special” – in Los Angeles on Sunday night for the ITV drama Downton Abbey and he wanted to mark it by dedicating it the 96 victims.

Kenny Derbyshire, Chair of the HJC, said: “The families and survivors of the HJC would like to note their appreciation of the gesture made by Brian Percival during his acceptance speech at the Emmy Awards.

“Brian was extremely generous to use an occasion designed to honour his work to highlight the need for justice for Hillsborough families. We would like to thank Brian, and also congratulate him on the well-deserved awards for Downton Abbey.”

Brian told the Liverpool Echo of his reasons for drawing attention to the issue: “I wanted to dedicate the award because any publicity for that cause and anything that gets these families justice has got to be a good thing.I’ve been a Liverpool fan all my life. I go to as many home games as I can and it is a big part of my life.

“It’s something I feel really strong about. It seemed like an opportunity to try to help in a tiny way. It is something so close to our lives, as it is to other supporters of the club and to anybody from Liverpool.”

The HJC was set up in 1998, the first meetings coming after some Hillsborough families chose to join up with ‘Survivors and Supporters of Justice For All’. It was those families that recognised how the survivors had also been victims of the disaster – their lives were never going to be the same and many of them were suffering from PTSD, nine years after the disaster. They also wanted a more pro-active campaign than had been in place before that, as did the local communities, and soon after forming they had premises in Anfield. The HJC shop, across the road from The Kop on Walton Breck Road, has become a familiar landmark to supporters as well as a focal point for those involved in the fight for justice.

The shop sells items that allow people to support the campaign by both spreading the word and providing funding to keep going with initiatives that range from ideas like Don’t Buy The Sun stickers which add more awareness to that aspect of the overall campaign to funding the legal battles that have had to be fought down the years. The shop also serves as office/meeting space as well as an advice centre.

Anne Williams lost her son Kevin in the disaster and in 2006 she set up Hope For Hillsborough. Kevin is known to have still been breathing long after the cut-off time that was imposed, a cut-off time that prevented any scrutiny of issues like ambulances being prevented from attending on the pitch that might just have saved Kevin’s life. Anne will be on The One Show on BBC One on Monday night (26th September) at 7pm as part of a piece about Hillsborough presented by Kelly Cates.

The original support group that was set up was the HFSG (Hillsborough Family Support Group). This was formed for the families of those who died and organises the memorial service at Anfield each April 15th. Its current chairman is Margaret Aspinall and she also praised Brian Percival for his gesture: “What a lovely thing to do,” she told the Echo. “We’re all delighted. It just shows that after all these years people are still thinking about what happened there and want to tell the world not ever to forget about the tragedy.”

There’s more than one group that represents families and survivors, they all have their own aims and objectives but ultimately all want the same things – The Truth and Justice. Not all supporters and certainly not all of the mainstream media are aware of the three groups, whatever our own feelings might be on how to proceed with this fight for justice, or how best to remember the victims, it’s vital that all who have that need to be heard are given the opportunity to be heard.

* The Don’t Buy The Sun concert takes place on Saturday night, presented by The Hillsborough Justice Campaign and in memory of James McVey, details here.

Article updated to reflect the new air-date for the BBC One programme, which was moved from its planned slot of Thursday the 22nd September to Monday the 29th.