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YNWA: Andrew Devine Memorial Chair unveiled at Spion Kop Lodge in South Africa beside bench for 96

1 year ago

YNWA: Andrew Devine Memorial Chair unveiled at Spion Kop Lodge in South Africa beside bench for 96

The chair created in memory of Hillsborough’s 97th victim Andrew Devine was unveiled in an emotional ceremony in South Africa on the anniversary of the tragedy.

The chair, which has 32 slats – one for each year Andrew sat after being injured in the disaster – has been placed next to a bench already dedicated to the other 96 who lost their lives.

And behind it is a wooden plaque which reads: For he who had to sit 32 years, I will stand. Rest in Peace Andrew Stanley Devine, JFT 97, YNWA.

“It’s about remembering Andrew alongside the other 96 people who lost their lives as a result of the crush on April 15, 1989,” says LFC fan Sioux Gijzen, who raised money for the chair.

“The chair is very simple in design, but it looks amazing. As well as the 32 slats, it has 97 engraved on the backrest and two eternal flames – like the bench – one for Heysel and one for Hillsborough.

Sioux was one of a group of South African LFC supporters who funded a memorial bench in honour of the 96 victims of the Hillsborough Disaster which has been a permanent tribute at Spion Kop Lodge in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa since 2010.

And she felt it was only right that Andrew should also be remembered after his death in July 2021.

On Saturday, the 34th anniversary of the disaster, she and other fans dedicated the chair in a special ceremony and remembered all those who lost their lives.

Sioux, a native South African who now lives in Wales near the Brecon Beacons, says: “We started off with a lunch where were talked about what happened on the day, who was at fault, and how justice finally came around.

Sioux with Jonathan Calf who created the memorial chair

“The owner of Spion Kop Lodge, Raymond Heron, explained the link between Anfield and the Spioenkop (Spion Kop) mountain that gave The Kop at Anfield its name – which we know but it’s always nice to go over that again –  and then we went outside, where I went into the Battle of Spion Kop and how it had led us there on Saturday.

“There’s an irony that the Battle of Spion Kop was lost by the British in the Boer War because of arrogance, bad communication and bad planning … and 97 lives were lost at Hillsborough for exactly the same reason.”

Sioux goes on: “It was very emotional as the chair was unveiled. We had a minute’s silence and then Dave Walters (a fellow fan who lives in South Africa) played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes. 

“We read the 97 names, with their ages because that really strikes home how much of a tragedy it really was, and afterwards we all sang You’ll Never Walk Alone.”



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