UK (Sky News)

Hillsborough survivor from poignant image dies with coronavirus

By June 29, 2020 No Comments

A Liverpool fan who appeared in a poignant image from the Hillsborough tragedy has died after catching coronavirus.

Dave Roland, 65, was captured sitting on a debris-strewn terrace with his head in his hands.

Ninety-six men, women and children died after a crush during the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest on 15 April 1989.

30th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster
Image:A memorial service was held at Anfield on the 30th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster in 2019

Mr Roland’s daughter, Michelle Hopwood, told the Liverpool Echo that her father died at the Royal Liverpool Hospital on 6 April – just over a week before today’s 31st anniversary.

She confirmed he was suffering from COVID-19.

She said: “We have received so many messages from people who have explained the impact Dad had on their lives, from taking so many to their first Liverpool game standing them on a box in the Kop, to pouring out words of advice which some men are now saying changed their lives, even keeping them out of prison.”

She praised the NHS staff who took care of him, telling the paper: “If I could’ve taken a picture of what the ICU staff are facing on a daily basis I fully believe it would have been enough to shock everyone to stay home.”

At the Hillsborough inquests in 2015, Mr Roland told how he had held the hand of a 17-year-old victim, Henry Rogers, on the pitch.

He later contacted Henry’s parents, Stephen and Veronica, after seeing his picture in the newspaper, and attended his funeral.

At the court hearing, Mr Roland described meeting Mr and Mrs Rogers and said: “The exact words I used – because I can remember it to this day – ‘We have come to explain to you that Henry wasn’t on his own when he died, and we thought it would be comfort for you to know, rather than not know.'”

Tributes were paid to Mr Roland and his photograph was shared online following his death.

Louise Brookes, whose brother Andrew died in the tragedy, wrote on Twitter: “Heaven has gained a true gentleman and a hero! Take a seat at Heaven’s Bar, and make sure Andy buys you a pint!”

Liverpool FC is holding a minute’s silence for players, staff and supporters later to remember fans who lost their lives.

The silence will be held at 15.06pm, the time the match was halted.

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