Hillsborough Disaster also saw best of people of Sheffield

Hillsborough Disaster, ayoung fan is carried away from the crush by  a police officer
Hillsborough Disaster, ayoung fan is carried away from the crush by a police officer

IT’S been a grim week for Sheffield.

Every newspaper, TV station and internet news outlet across the country and round the globe has poured condemnation on the name of this city over what happened at Hillsborough on April 15 1989.

The eyes of the world have been on us and we have taken a battering.

But this is not the Sheffield we all know.

The inquiry led by the Bishop of Liverpool was damning of individuals formerly within our police force and some past elements of the ambulance service.

And rightly so. We don’t like corrupt coppers here any more than they like them anywhere else.

But the rest of the world needs to remember a few things.

Like the men and women of the emergency services who DID rise to the occasion that day and saved lives that otherwise would have added to the terrible toll.

The Star archive of pictures from the disaster, most too graphic to publish, shows policeman and women carrying grimacing and red-shirted lads from the crush, sergeants frantically giving the kiss of life and constables covering bodies with their jackets.

It shows ambulancemen and women tending the wounded on the pitch and it records their tears after the carnage.

The world should remember men like Brendan Pakenham, a Sheffield special constable, then 19 years-old, who pulled dozens of fans from the crush and onto the pitch despite suffering terrible injuries of his own.

It should remember people like pensioners Frank and Ruth Sellars and many others in Hillsborough who offered food and shelter to thousands of stranded fans who waited in kitchens and front rooms to use family phones to call home.

It should remember the prayers offered and the hundreds of thousands of pounds raised in this city for the victims’ families.

The thousands of phone calls made to Hillsborough and the hospitals by South Yorkshire people offering any help they could give.

The lifts willingly given by Sheffielders to Liverpudlians in need, the beds for the night offered to those who lost family, 
the heartfelt respect won by 
ordinary Sheffielders from 
grateful Liverpudlians, the friendships made in that day’s overwhelming grief and still strong today.

The Hillsborough disaster will never be forgotten and the corruption of certain senior police officers never forgiven, least of all by the people of Sheffield.

The city is hurting now because of the terrible revelations that brought shame on our name and on the name of every decent policeman and woman in South Yorkshire.

But the Hillsborough disaster brought the best out of the majority of Sheffielders as well as the worst from the few.

As it looks on in judgment after the Hillsborough Inquiry the world needs to remember that too.