THE mother of a former Wirral soldier said "Hillsborough should never happened" as she paid tribute to her son.

Anthony Peter Kelly, from Rock Ferry, was 29 years old when he lost his life in the disaster on April 15, 1989.

A pen portrait of Anthony, written by his mother Betty Almond, was read out today by a legal representative at the new inquests into the deaths of the 96 victims.

Mrs Almond wrote that Anthony was her only son. He was born prematurely in August, 1959, weighing less than 2lbs.

Anthony was Christened almost immediately as he was very ill. But he pulled through and, in the words of his mum, "grew into a grand lad".

He had a love of football, music and darts and a flair for cartoons.

Mrs Almond said her son was very popular at school and had lots of friends.

She wrote: "His dad was a big motorbike fan and Anthony would help him and soon learned which spanner was for different things."

Anthony even built a bicycle for himself from parts he'd salvaged from a scrapyard.

He was enlisted into the Army at 18, something his mother says she and her husband were very proud of.

After leaving the services, Anthony held a variety of jobs.

"He liked playing darts, he also loved music and football of course.

"I miss him so much. Anthony was our only child.

"Hillsborough should have never happened."

The new inquest into Britain's worst sporting disaster began last month and resumed this week following a break for the 25th anniversary of the tragedy.

They are taking place at Birchwood Park in Warrington and are being heard by Court of Appeal judge Lord Justice Goldring, who has been made an assistant coroner for the purpose.

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

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, Rock Ferry.

Graham Roberts, 24, Wallasey.

Dave Thomas, 23, Higher Tranmere.

Chris Traynor, 26, Birkenhead.

Kevin Traynor, 16, Birkenhead.