MEMORIAL services will be held on both sides of the Mersey today in memory of the 96 who died in the Hillsborough disaster.

Wirral Council is inviting people to gather at Wallasey town hall to mark the 25th anniversary of the tragedy.

A memorial will be held at 3pm at the steps at the back of the town hall - overlooking the River Mersey and across to Anfield.

The ceremony will be presided over by the Mayor of Wirral, Cllr Dave Mitchell, Caldy Rugby Club Choir "Off-Pitch" will sing You'll Never Walk Alone, and Wirral Young Poet Laureate Beth Heale will be reading a lament.

A minute's silence will be held at 3.06pm, the exact time a quarter of a century ago that Liverpool FC's fateful FA Cup match was abandoned as the tragedy unfolded.

The Mersey Ferry will sound its fog horns, and barriers at both Mersey Tunnels will be lowered, as the bells ring out at the Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool Parish Church and other civic buildings and churches across Merseyside.

At Lime Street station, a huge screen will display a photo of each of those who lost their lives on April 15, 1989, in the crush on the Leppings Lane terraces at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground as the cup semi-final versus Nottingham Forest got under way.

Leader of Wirral Council Cllr Phil Davies said: “The events that unfolded at Hillsborough shocked not only our community but also our whole country.

“The families and friends of the 96, who 25 years later are still fighting for answers, are in our thoughts and prayers and deserve absolute respect and admiration for their dignified and resolute determination.

"We will gather to remember those who tragically lost their lives at Hillsborough and also reflect on the long and difficult journey that their families continue in their search for justice.

“Anyone who would like to join us in paying our respects is very welcome to come along.”

Reverend Tom Carmichael will say prayers during an unofficial service of quiet reflection at the Hillsborough memorial in Port Sunlight at 3pm. The bells of nearby Christ Church will be rung 96 times.

Staff and shoppers at Pyramids Shopping Centre and Birkenhead Market will also observe a minute's silence.

Liverpool will come to a standstill as the city remembers in silence. Across the city, public transport will be halted at 3.06pm.

The silence will be observed at Anfield, where loved ones of victims will join players, staff and senior representatives of the club among 24,000 people attending the annual memorial service.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will give a reading at the service as well as Roberto Martinez, manager of Everton.

Thousands of football scarves will be laid out on the pitch in the shape of "96", donated from fans and clubs across the UK and beyond after an appeal from Liverpool FC for scarves to show a symbol of unity across fan rivalries.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: "This year marks a pivotal moment in the history of the Hillsborough tragedy and the families' long fight for justice.

"Not only is it the 25th anniversary of the tragedy but we also have the start of fresh inquests into how the 96 lost their lives.

"We will never forget those who died at Hillsborough, and this is a day for us to unite as a city and remember each one, and also their families and friends left behind.

"I urge everyone in Liverpool, and across the region, to observe the minute's silence, stand shoulder to shoulder and remember the 96 fans that went to a football match and never returned home.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones today."

Some of those present at today's memorial are witnesses in the new inquest into Britain's worst sporting disaster, which began last month and resumes next week.

The original accidental deaths verdicts in 1991 were quashed in the High Court in 2012 after a long campaign by the fans' families.

The memorial at Anfield is scheduled to start at 2.45pm.

Twelve of those who lost their lives in the disaster were from Wirral and Ellesmere Port.

They were:
Peter Burkett, 24, Rock Ferry.

Ray Chapman, 50, Prenton.

James Delaney, 19, Ellesmere Port.

Christopher Edwards, 29, Ellesmere Port.

Thomas "Steve" Fox, 21, Birkenhead.

James Hennessy, 29, Ellesmere Port.

Arthur Horrocks, 41, Bebington.

Anthony Kelly, 29, from Rock Ferry.

Graham Roberts, 24, Wallasey.

Dave Thomas, 23, Higher Tranmere.

Chris Traynor, 26, Birkenhead.

Kevin Traynor, 16, Birkenhead.