Justice prevails for the Hillsborough familiesTuesday 26 April 2016
Professor Gerald Pillay, Vice Chancellor & Rector of Liverpool Hope University, welcomes the verdict from the Hillsborough Inquests, and reflects on the courage and selflessness of the Hillsborough families throughout their 27 year quest for justice.
When we presented Margaret Aspinall and Trevor Hicks with their Honorary Fellowships in January 2016, it was on the same day that the coroner had begun his final summing up at the Hillsborough inquests.
Margaret and Trevor dearly wanted to be there on that first day. However, they chose to join us.
Margaret said: “It’s the people here [in Liverpool] that I’m most proud of, who have stood by us from the very beginning. Even though we have had plenty of support from across the country and indeed all over the world, this city believed in us from day one, and that’s what made me so proud to accept this [Honorary Fellowship] – for all those people as well.”
Trevor said: “This is my adopted city. It is a great honour. I dedicate my share of the award to my daughters and the other 94 victims of Hillsborough and suspect that Sarah and Victoria would be very proud.”
In attending the ceremony that day, Margaret and Trevor did as they have done for the past 27 years - put their care for others before their own.
In having to deal with their own grief so publicly, they have helped a city deal with theirs.
We know that the inquest verdicts will never bring back the sons, daughters, husbands, brothers, wives, nephews, nieces, cousins and friends lost at Hillsborough.
We can never underestimate the courage of all of the families, and the lasting impact that Hillsborough has had on the lives of thousands of people.
We can never forget the injustice that the families faced. And we never should.
When asked what advice he would give to our graduating class of 2016, Trevor said: “Every time they knock you down, get up again. And every time they knock you down again, get up again. Just keep on going, and eventually you will persevere.”
As a University, we are proud to belong to the city of Liverpool.
We are proud to be from a city with an unwavering commitment to justice, and where hope, even when it is tested to the limit, truly lives.