Those who lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster are to be posthumously awarded the Freedom of Wirral.

Ninety-six Liverpool FC fans were killed in a crush at the Sheffield football stadium in 1989 at an FA Cup semi-final tie between the Reds and Nottingham Forest. 

Many were from the Wirral, including Ellesmere Port friends James Delaney, 19, and James ‘Jimmy’ Hennessy, 29, who travelled to the match together by coach, plus Bromborough-born insurance clerk Peter Burkett, 24. 

The 96 will be posthumously given the Freedom of Wirral at a special meeting of Wirral Council on Friday, September 15.

Also that day, the riverside gardens overlooking the River Mersey at Wallasey Town Hall will be dedicated by the Mayor of Wirral,  Ann McLachlan, on behalf of the people of Wirral as a permanent memorial to the 96.

As well as commemorating those who died, the gardens will also serve as a lasting tribute, paying homage to the courage, dignity and tenacity of the families and their campaign for justice for their loved ones.

Created with the support of Hillsborough Family Support Group, the gardens will be a place of remembrance and reflection.

Margaret Aspinall, chair of Hillsborough Family Support Group, said: “It is so important that the 96 and the lessons of that terrible day are never forgotten. The freedom of the borough and the memorial garden will provide a lasting reminder for generations to come.”

Cllr Phil Davies, leader of Wirral Council added: “These gardens will be dedicated to the memory of the 96 men, women and children who went to a football match and never came home.

“They will also honour all those whose lives were changed forever almost 30 years ago, and salute the heroic struggle for truth, justice and accountability that continues to this day.”

Cllr McLachlan, Mayor of Wirral, said it would be a proud and poignant occasion.

He added: “Wirral has stood shoulder to shoulder with the Hillsborough families and our neighbours in Liverpool in their campaign.

“This seems like a fitting time for Wirral to pay this enduring tribute. The 96 will never be forgotten.”