AS MERSEYSIDE falls silent to mark the 26th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster today, we look back at the heartbreaking and moving pen portraits of those who lost their lives.

Emotions ran high at the new inquests last year as families paid tribute to those killed on April 15, 1989 in a series of personal background statements, or “pen portraits”.

The jury heard from the parents, children, siblings and friends of those who lost their lives.

Tributes were upsetting but at times sparked a laugh from those sitting in the public gallery as families recalled the happy memories they shared with their loved ones.

The hearings into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans started in a specially converted courthouse in Birchwood Park on March 31, 2014.

The proceedings were called for after the original accidental death verdicts were quashed by the High Court in December 2012. 

Former chief superintendent David Duckenfield, the match commander at the game, told the hearings it was “one of the biggest regrets of my life” that he did not think of the consequences of allowing thousands of fans in to the ground.

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

They were Peter Burkett, Raymond Chapman, Anthony Kelly, James Delaney, Christopher Edwards, Arthur Horrocks, Kevin Traynor, Chris Traynor, James Hennessy, Graham Roberts, Dave Thomas and Thomas "Steve" Fox.

You can read their pen portraits below.


Peter Burkett, 24, from Rock Ferry.

Wirral Globe:

Peter Burkett’s sister told the hearing he “touched the hearts of all the people who knew and loved him”.

Lesley Roberts said: “When he walked into a room it would feel like somebody had switched a light on and everything was instantly brighter.”

Read the full pen portrait here.

Raymond Chapman, 50, Prenton.

Wirral Globe: Raymond Chapman was among the 96 killed in the Hillsborough disaster.

Raymond Chapman told his wife he loved her before heading off to the football match from which he would never return.

His last words to his widow Joan were “See you tonight, love you, bye”.

Read the full pen portrait here.

James Delaney, 19, Ellesmere Port.

Wirral Globe:

Ellesmere Port man James Delaney told his little brother he would take him to the FA cup final on the morning of the Hillsborough tragedy.

Nick Delaney paid tribute to the 19-year-old he was proud to call his big brother.

Read the full pen portrait here.

Christopher Edwards, 29, Ellesmere Port.

Wirral Globe: Christopher Edwards.

Christopher Edwards was described as the “apple of his mum’s eye” by his father.

Sydney Edwards said he often wonders about the family his son could have had.

He said: “The only comfort I have is that Chris experienced what it was like to be loved and he lived his life to the full.”

Read the full pen portrait here.

Thomas “Steve” Fox, 21, Birkenhead.

Wirral Globe: Thomas Steven Fox

Thomas Steven Fox had hoped his organs would be used to help others when he was killed at the age of 21.

His mother, Brenda Fox, said: “Had he been taken to hospital, many others would have benefited. Sadly, he never made it to hospital.”

Read the full pen portrait here.

James Hennessy, 29, Ellesmere Port.

Wirral Globe: James Robert Hennessy with his daughter Charlotte.

The death of James Robert Hennessy left a hole in the life of his “daddy’s girl” daughter.

Charlotte Hennessy, who was just six when her dad died, described “our Jimmy” as a beautiful person who never had a bad word for anyone.

Read the full pen portrait here.

Arthur Horrocks, 41, Bebington.

Wirral Globe:

Arthur Horrocks was described as full of fun and a man who lived for his family.

His son was the first to read a statement on behalf of Mr Horrocks’ wife Susan which left many people in tears.

Read the full pen portrait here.

Anthony Kelly, 29, Rock Ferry.

Wirral Globe:

Anthony Kelly’s mother said “Hillsborough should never have happened” as she paid tribute to her son.

Betty Almond said that Anthony was her only son and was born prematurely weighing less than 2lbs but "grew into a grand land".

Read the full pen portrait here.

Graham Roberts, 24, Wallasey.

Wirral Globe: Graham Roberts from Wallasey was planning to move in with his fiancé Sandra

Graham Roberts was engaged to marry and due to sign for his first home on the day of the Hillsborough disaster.

Fiancé Sandra pleaded with Graham to not go to the game and instead sign the contracts for their new home.

Graham’s sister Sue said: "He said, 'it's a semi-final and that they could sign for their house on Monday instead'."

Read the full pen portrait here.

David Thomas, 23, Higher Tranmere.

Wirral Globe:

David Thomas was “just becoming a man” when he died in the disaster. He was 23 years old.

His mother said she found it hard to talk about her son, who had started his own business as a painter and decorator and was “quite successful in his short life”.

Read the full pen portrait here.

Kevin Traynor, 16, and Chris Traynor, 26, Birkenhead.

Wirral Globe:

The sister of brothers Kevin and Christopher Traynor was overcome with emotion as she told the court they had been involved in a crush at the stadium just one year before.

Read the full pen portrait here.