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Relief for parents of Hillsborough victim
“WE wanted the truth and now we have got the truth and that is good enough.”
That is the reaction of Stan and Margaret Godwin to the independent report into the Hillsborough disaster, in which their son, Derrick, lost his life.
Last week the couple, from Lechlade, joined the families of the other 96 Liverpool fans who died at the FA Cup semi-final 23 years ago at Liverpool Cathedral to hear the report’s findings.
Derrick was 24 when he died at Hillsborough and his parents have spoken of their relief that this report has uncovered the truth that they have always believed.
Stan, 75, a retired mason, said: “It was a big thing for us, the relief we felt that the truth has finally come out.
“This is the biggest cover-up ever to have happened in our time and it is worrying.
“I was brought up to respect the police but now this leaves you questioning.”
Panel members, chaired by Bishop of Liverpool the Right Reverend James Jones, spent two years looking through more than 400,000 documents relating to the disaster at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground.
Their report showed police amended 164 of the police statements made about the tragedy, with 116 of those substantially changed to remove or alter “unfavourable” comments regarding the policing of the match.
It also showed the lives of 41 of the victims could potentially have been saved if the response of the emergency services had been swifter.
The couple have not decided yet if they will pursue legal action and have said that they are unlikely to look at the records to see if Derrick was one of the 41 who could have been saved.
Margaret said: “Derrick went off that morning on the train and that was it. You never expected him to not come back.
“What we know now is that 41 people were still alive after the cut-off time and we are just wondering if he was one of them.
“You can arrange a meeting with the doctor who will go through the records but we have discussed it and I don’t think we will do that. We’ve got the report, that is enough.”
Derrick grew up in Lechlade, attending Lechlade Primary School and later Farmor’s School in Fairford.
After leaving school, he worked as an accountant at the Allied Dunbar branch in Swindon.
He was a quiet character who would always help others and was well known in the Lechlade, playing football and cricket for the local teams.
Originally Derrick was a Swindon Town fan, but began supporting Liverpool after he saw them beat Swindon comprehensively at the County Ground in 1987.
Stan and Margaret received more than 300 letters of condolence and support after Derrick’s death, including one from Princess Diana. The club also sent 95 red roses to his funeral.
The couple say they have made some lifelong friends through the Hillsborough Family Support Group, who often come down to stay with them, which has helped them to come to terms with the loss.