Variety, the Children’s Charity, is overwhelmed at the support received at the Charity’s fundraiser ‘Variety Honours the Hillsborough 96’.

Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, welcomed guests to the event at the City’s Crowne Plaza Hotel and said:

“Tonight is about remembering and honouring the 96 by helping children across Merseyside. This City stood on its own as the country threw mud and lies at us. I’m proud to be a Merseysider as we have stood and fought together. I promise you, we will get accountability for the 96, for the victims, for the families and for all of us who stood together these last 24 years. Supporting this project with Variety, the Children’s Charity, means the Hillsborough story will continue to be told and will not be forgotten.”

During last night’s welcome speech, Variety‘s Chief Barker, Laurence Davis presented Margaret with a Variety award for the Hillsborough Family Support Group to recognise their efforts and continued campaigning for the Hillsborough 96. Mr Davis then exclusively revealed that Liverpool Football Club and Everton Football Club had each also pledged to sponsor a Sunshine Coach.

In July, Mayor Joe Anderson offered the support of the City with the purchase of a blue Sunshine Coach. Last week it was revealed that 5Times, the charity set up by Liverpool legends including Jan Molby, Bruce Grobbelaar, John Barnes and Robbie Fowler, had agreed to support the charity initiative to honour the Hillsborough 96 with the purchase of a red Sunshine Coach. Both red and blue Sunshine Coaches were revealed at last night’s event to the 250 guests in attendance with the LFC and EFC coaches expected to be in operation in January 2014.

Jan Molby, chair of 5times Liverpool Former Players Association, said:

“We feel privileged to be supporting Variety, the Children’s Charity, in honouring and remembering the Hillsborough 96. We are proud to be sponsoring a new Sunshine Coach that will help disabled and disadvantaged children to enjoy the same opportunities as others. The 5Times former players all agree that we could not support a better cause than helping children less fortunate than others.”

Guests at charity dinner held at Liverpool’s Crowne Plaza hotel included families of the Hillsborough 96, the Hillsborough Family Support Group, former Liverpool football legends including Ian Rush, John Barnes, Jan Molby and John Aldridge and The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Gary Millar. Vocalist Izzi Field’s opening rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was followed by performances from Kirkdale born swing singer Asa Murphy, ‘60s icons ‘The Merseybeats’ and a poignant musical tribute to the 96 by international recording artist Chris de Burgh.

Auction items included a signed Gibson Firebird guitar donated by Tony Crane of ‘The Merseybeats’, an exclusive Anthony Brown bespoke John Lennon embellished reproduction on canvas and a Liverdeer statue emblazoned with the Hillsborough memorial flame which was purchased jointly by Liverpool and Everton Football Club.

Lyn Staunton of Variety, the Children’s Charity, organised the event and commented:

“Variety, the Children’s Charity, had hoped to raise enough money to purchase one Sunshine Coach thanks to this event. To be able to raise the funds for not one, but four Sunshine Coaches is just overwhelming. The story and continued support for Hillsborough remains ingrained in the hearts of Liverpudlians who have demonstrated such remarkable generosity. Variety are truly humbled to receive such extraordinary support that will benefit children all over Merseyside.”