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Poignant reminder of families’ tragedy

Tommy Biggadike, 2, with sister Millie Biggadike, 4, whose grandfather Thomas Howard and uncle Thomas Howard aged 14 were killed in the 1989 disaste

Tommy Biggadike, 2, with sister Millie Biggadike, 4, whose grandfather Thomas Howard and uncle Thomas Howard aged 14 were killed in the 1989 disaste

They’re too young to understand fully, and far too young to remember the uncle and grandfather they never knew.

But as toddler Tommy Biggadike, aged just two, stretched out a little hand to lay red and white roses in the Sheffield sunshine, he and his sister Millie, four, were touching a connection with their family the Hillsborough disaster cut devastatingly short.

The toddlers will tragically never know the love of their grandfather Thomas Howard, nor their uncle – his son – also Thomas.

Liverpool fans Thomas senior, a dad of three aged 39, and his eldest child Thomas, aged 14, had set off to Hillsborough stadium early from their home in Runcorn to get a place behind the goal.

Thomas should have been 64 now, a proud grandad looking forward to retirement next year after a lifetime of hard work.

And his son should have been 39 – exactly the same age as his father on the day of that football match in 1989 – a doting uncle to his adored nephew and niece, and perhaps a dad himself.

Instead, on a day just as bright and sunny as yesterday, they became two of the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster 25 years ago.

Tommy, Millie and their family were among relatives and Liverpool supporters who all made their pilgrimages to the memorial outside Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium yesterday.

Andy Barker, 39, and his son Danny, just nine, were also some of the Liverpool fans paying their respects.

Football shirts, scarves, flags and messages of support were all left at the memorial by fans.

In the Hillsborough Park Memorial Garden nearby, Liverpool’s deputy elected mayor Coun Roz Gladden joined representatives from Sheffield Council to lay wreaths.

She was joined by Sheffield Council leader Coun Julie Dore to pay tributes to the 96 victims.

Coun Dore said: “The story of Hillsborough has been widely reported. It was meant to be a day full of celebration and anticipation, when many football fans came to our city to see a football match.

“But it turned out to be one of the most tragic and devastating events in our history.

“Ninety-six fans of Liverpool Football Club, one of the proudest clubs in the world, died in the most unbelievable of circumstances.”

She said the anger felt for the pain and grief caused will never go away, and added Sheffield must stand side by side with ‘the great city of Liverpool’ and remember their lost and loved ones.

Coun Gladden added: “Today has been such a beautiful day.

“The sun is shining just like it was on the day of the Hillsborough disaster. It’s so sad.”

There was a minute’s silence before wreaths were laid at the memorial garden.

 
 
 

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