2016 Hillsborough memorial at Anfield at be the last
THIS year's annual Hillsborough memorial service to remember the 96 victims of Britain's worst sporting disaster will be the last one held.
The decision was made unanimously by members of the Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG), which has organised every service held at Liverpool's Anfield Stadium since the 1989 tragedy.
The final memorial will be staged on Friday, April 15.
In a statement, the group's chair Margaret Aspinall said: "The 96 will never be forgotten. It is likely that the inquests will be concluded before the anniversary so this final memorial service will provide the families with some closure.
"The HFSG would like to thank everyone for all the support the families have received over the past 27 years and all those people who have attended the service at Anfield each year.
"We would also like to extend our thanks to Liverpool Football Club for their continued support over the past 27 years and for hosting the service each year at Anfield.
"We hope that the public and fans respect the decision of the HFSG and will continue to remember the 96 in their own perhaps more private way."
Further explaining the decision, she later told ITV Granada Reports: "I am absolutely exhausted now, I'm tired.
"I need family time. I have not had that for 27 years.
"I am too worried about the service going smoothly for everybody else that I don't think of James (her son who died in the tragedy). It is the following day I think of James and that's when it really gets to me.
"I need that day for me and my family and I think some of the other families feel the same."
She added: "I think the families still want me to be there as the chair, but at this moment in time I'm starting to feel so exhausted. There's a lot of us who are struggling, you can see the pain in their faces even now.
"I want closure for the fans as well. They need it, they deserve it."
On Tuesday, the ongoing fresh inquests into the deaths of the 96 Liverpool supporters - which began in March 2014 - heard its last day of evidence.
Coroner Lord Justice Goldring told jurors sitting in Warrington, Cheshire, that he expected to begin summing up the case on January 25.
It is thought the jury may be sent out the following month to consider its verdicts.
The tragedy unfolded at Sheffield Wednesday's ground on April 15, 1989 during Liverpool's FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest as thousands of fans were crushed on the Leppings Lane terrace.
At the start of the fresh inquests, the coroner said none of the victims should be blamed for their deaths.
The verdicts from the original inquests were quashed following the 2012 damning report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel which concluded there was a cover-up that attempted to shift the blame for the tragedy onto its victims.