A grandmother who worked day and night to create a special quilt in memory of the 96 Liverpool FC fans who died in the Hillsborough disaster has been nominated for Your Champions 2015.
Linda Whitfield spent months gathering old football shirts, cutting out the Liver Birds and stitching them together, working around the clock to create the moving tribute.
The grandmother-of-three said she was overwhelmed by the reaction to her design which brought tears to the eyes of a mother who lost her son in the sporting tragedy.
“She just looked at it and started filling up,” said Linda, describing the moment Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support group, spotted her son James’ name stitched into the quilt.
“She said she wished she had known I was making the quilt as she would have given me one of his shirts to put the Liver Bird on it. I knew that was love.”
Linda, who lives in John Nicholas Crescent, Ellesmere Port , met members of the support group when they contacted her after spotting pictures of the quilt, made up of dozens of donated shirts, on Facebook.
The 52-year-old, who was greatly appreciative of the kind messages from people worldwide, said she hoped her creation would be shared with the people of Liverpool and serve as a lasting tribute to the 96 – a view she says the families share.
She said: “I was one of the lucky ones, I didn’t know anyone who died or who went to the football that day. She [Margaret] said it needs to be seen, no one person should own it. Maybe it will go into the Museum of Liverpool.”
Linda’s husband Rob, 49, an avid Liverpool FC supporter, first came up with the idea of 96 shirts with the Liver Birds cut out and the names of every person who died sewn in.
She says she couldn’t have finished the project without the help of Mark Bond, owner of The Uniform Shop in Whitby Road.
He made labels containing all the names for Linda’s quilt and gave them to her for free.
The 1989 sporting disaster claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool FC fans, among them three from Ellesmere Port, James Delaney, 19, James Hennessy , 29 and Christopher Edwards, 29.