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Issue:- Thursday, 20 October 2016

Headlines and reports on this page = 3 news items.    Page - 10.

Memorial bench unveiled for Liverpool-born firefighter who died at Hillsborough tragedy

FIREFIGHTERS from Merseyside have travelled to London to unveil a bench they funded in memory of a firefighter who lost his life at the Hillsborough tragedy.  Liverpool born Francis McAllister was just 27 when he was killed at Hillsborough, the only serving firefighter to have died in the 1989 disaster.

Having joined Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) in 1985, the passionate Liverpool FC supporter transferred to London Fire Brigade and served at Manchester Square Fire Station and Barbican Fire Station during his short career.

On Monday, October 10 MFRS firefighters stood shoulder-to-shoulder with crews from London Fire Brigade and members of firefighter McAllisterís family in paying tribute to Francis at a formal memorial service in Canbury Gardens, Kingston.

During the ceremony, held on the date Francis would have turned 55 and likely retired from service, a bench was unveiled on the river bank bearing an engraved plaque jointly dedicated by MFRS and London Fire Brigade.

Steve Prately, Watch Manager at Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, raised money to buy the bench by taking part in the Liverpool Spring 10k and Run For The 96 5k race along with Francisís cousin, Tony McAllister, who is a serving firefighter at Old Swan Community Fire Station in Liverpool, and Tonyís daughter, Alex.

WM Prately said:- "Firefighter Francis McAllister was a well-loved firefighter, colleague, friend, son and brother who tragically lost his life at one of the worst sporting tragedies of all time.  We wanted to buy a bench in remembrance of Francis, to commemorate his memory and legacy as a respected firefighter, family member and friend. He trained as a firefighter in Merseyside and served in London, and we thought it was fitting to place the bench along the river bank in Kingston; a place often visited by his family and close to his brotherís home. It has been an honour helping raise money to buy a fitting tribute to Francis and help remember his life alongside his family, friends and colleagues."

MFRS firefighter Tony McAllister said:- "After a long 27 year fight for justice this finally gives the family a little bit of closure and time to celebrate Francisís life and for what he stood for. He will always be fondly remembered and greatly missed. Many thanks to all who contributed in making this event happen, a day that will be etched on our familyís memory for a very long time."

London Fire Brigade Director of Operations Dave Brown said:- "London Firefighter Francis McAllister went to a football match like millions of people do and sadly never came home. He served with the Brigade for four years and his service record states that he was a very good firefighter.  It was a privilege for our crews past and present to meet with Francisís family and lay the Brigadeís ceremonial standard at the unveiling of his bench."

Francis McAllister was a serving London firefighter when he and 95 others lost their lives at the FA Cup semi final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on April 15, 1989.



New inquests have determined that the 96 victims were unlawfully killed.

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