The final Hillsborough memorial has begun in Liverpool

The memorial marks 27 years since the disaster that claimed 96 lives

The final Hillsborough memorial has begun in Liverpool

Image: Peter Byrne / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Families and loved ones of victims of those who lost their lives during the Hillsborough disaster have gathered to mark the final memorial today.

Today marks the 27th anniversary of the disaster that claimed 96 lives. The annual event has been held at Liverpool's stadium since the tragedy in Sheffield on 15 April 1989.

Hillsborough families have "unanimously agreed" that this year's service will be the final one.

A minute's silence was held across Liverpool at 15:06, the time when the FA Cup semi-final was abandoned following a terrace crush.

Civic flags flew at half mast, while bells tolled 96 times to remember the men, women and children caught up in the tragedy.

The decision to end the Anfield services and memorials was made by the Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG) following consultation with the relatives of the deceased.

Flowers are placed at the Hillsborough memorial plaque during the Hillsborough 27th Anniversary Memorial Service at Anfield, Liverpool. Image: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

"The 96 will never be forgotten. This final memorial service will provide the families with some closure" said Margaret Aspinall, chairperson of the HFSG.

Mrs Aspinall lost her 18-year-old son James in the disaster.

"The HFSG would like to thank everyone for all the support the families have received over the past 27 years and all those people who have attended the service at Anfield each year.

"We hope that the public and fans respect the decision of the HFSG and will continue to remember the 96 in their own, perhaps more private, way."