Hillsborough families shop opens

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Hillsborough pop-up shop

The opening of the pop-up shop in St John’s centre

A shop to raise money for Hillsborough families has opened with the help of a number of Liverpool celebrities.

Former Liverpool defender Phil Thompson and Waterloo Road star Jack McMullen cut the ribbon at the St. John’s Shopping Centre store, alongside Hillsborough Family Support Group Chairman Margaret Aspinall.

McMullen, 21, who also appeared in Brookside and Grange Hill, said: “The shop looks great. I’m sure as soon as all the stock comes in it will be brilliant and we can start making some money for a good cause.”

The shop is being managed by Gary Muldoon, 48, and Mike Latham, 55, who lost a colleague in the Hillsborough tragedy.

Mr Muldoon told JMU Journalism: “We’ve got the shop for six weeks and what we’re looking to do is raise as much money as possible.

“When this closes here, we’ll be opening up another in a different location, and then we’ll be taking this pop-up shop around the city.”

Mrs Aspinall, 66, praised the their work and the help they have given the group, particularly Mr Latham who wrote the poem ‘The Hillsborough 96’. She told JMU Journalism: “These guys have been absolutely tremendous; they have helped and supported us for a number of years now and I can’t thank them enough.

The Hillsborough Support group has been backed by many local football clubs, including local rivals Manchester United.

Liverpool legend Phil Thompson was there to back the cause

Liverpool legend Phil Thompson was there to back the cause

She added: “Jenny Hicks and myself were invited [to the Manchester United versus Liverpool] match yesterday as a guest of Sir Bobby Charlton and we were treated tremendously. The support we’ve had from everybody has been amazing.”

Thompson, 58, who won 42 caps for England and was part of the Liverpool coaching staff at Hillsborough, believes the shop to be one of many ideas aiding the families’ fight for justice.

He told JMU Journalism: “It’s important to always keep everyone aware of what happened in 1989 and what’s happened since. It has been a very difficult period for the families of those who died, and for those who survived.”

He also pointed to the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel as a step in the right direction. “The findings were great. I think we always knew that the truth wasn’t spoken and the blame of the fans was untrue,” he said.

“As long as the answers come out sooner rather than later we can make people accountable for what happened. I think that is of vital importance to the families.”

About Billy McClure, JMU Journalism