A HILLSBOROUGH survivor from Chester plans to walk 96 miles in memory of those killed in the 1989 disaster.
Mike Wilson and his father Dave were among the thousands of fans caught up in the deadly crush at the Leppings Lane end of the Sheffield Wednesday football ground.
They had travelled to the match from the family home in Tattenhall and the horror of the tragedy has been forever etched in their minds.
Following the release of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report last month, Mike has been one of the leading lights behind the Reds Rose Walk.
Liverpool fans from across the country are planning to set off from Hillsborough on December 14 and walk to Anfield to raise money for the victims’ families’ fight for justice.
Former Reds players Dominic Matteo and Neil Mellor are among those taking part along with rugby league legend Bobbie Goulding.
Mike said: “When the report came out, I got talking with some fellow Liverpool fans on Twitter and floated the idea about doing the walk.
“Some of us met up and said ‘we have got do it’ and then Bobbie got in touch and he has been so enthusiastic. We are walking 96 miles for obvious reasons from Hillsborough to the memorial at Anfield and we are going to lay 96 red roses.
“The money will be split between the Hillsborough Family Support Group and the Hillsborough Justice Campaign.
“The reaction has been overwhelming and we are hoping to raise at least £10,000.”
The route takes in several other football stadiums and the walkers are planning to acknowledge the special support shown by Everton and the club’s supporters over the past 23 years.
Singer Sarah Milne has released her charity single 96th Son and Mike has penned a poem about his Hillsborough experience.
He tells how he was separated from Dave in the crush and he clambered over the fences to safety before frantically searching for his father.
“We got split up about halfway through the tunnel and I did not see him for 45 minutes but we were both in pen four,” said 47-year-old Mike.
“I got wedged in the side fence and stood there lifting people over for half an hour.
“It was either that or get crushed myself.
“It is amazing what adrenaline can do because I managed to vault the six foot fence and I was searching the bodies on the pitch to try and find my dad.
“When I looked up and saw he was okay in the stand, I was overcome with relief and collapsed to the floor.”
Originally from Liverpool, Mike was 11 when the family moved to Tattenhall and his father was headmaster at Tarvin Primary School for many years.
“All those years ago, the national newspapers printed a letter from my dad about what really happened at the match,” said IT expert Mike, who now lives in Halifax.
“He is 81 now and still lives in the village. I go back now and it still feels like home to me.
“My dad will be joining us for the last leg of the walk and will be one of the people laying the roses at the memorial.
“We have been thinking about what happened following the report coming out. For me that was the proof rather than the truth, because we knew what the truth was already.”
Anyone who would like to know more about the walk or to support the walkers can go to www.fromthekop.com
See full story in the Chester Leader