Last Saturday before we set off to watch Everton play at Stoke, Blue Kipper was invited to receive a flag from a group of 12 kopites who had walked 96 miles from Sheffield to Liverpool in memory of the fans who died at Hillsborough 23 years ago.
The "Reds Rose Walk" organised by Mike Wilson and Cherie Brewster took 29 hours to finish in honour of the victim's families. They covered 96 miles via football grounds in Yorkshire and Lancashire in atrocious conditions before placing 96 roses at their shrine at Anfield.
Everton Football Club presented a signed Everton shirt to the walkers - The one from Everton One with 'Remembering The 96' on the back - is held by Evertonian Keith Mullin of The Farm in the photo. The shirt will now be displayed at Anfield.
Cherie Brewster said: "The original idea of the walk came about within a couple of days of the HIP report.
"It became clear that for the first time since 1989, the wider football community beyond Liverpool accepted that the events of Hillsborough could well have happened to anyone. We decided the tap into that groundswell of feeling that arose from that realisation.
"The planned walk to include passing several football grounds so it made sense to encourage those clubs and their supporters to get involved. That's when we came up with the £96 for The 96 idea for supporters and asked clubs for signed merchandise to auction for funds.
"The greatest thrill has been the way supporters and Clubs from across the football community wanted to help. The biggest achievement for the Reds' Rose Walk is the way it has helped in a small way to unify football fans from clubs large and small, to show their support for the families' continued struggle, as well as paying tribute to The 96 themselves.
"Walking into Goodison on Saturday morning was such a thrill. We felt so proud to be doing something that displayed the wonderful unity between our two great Clubs. We are undeniably, inextricably linked and have been throughout our Clubs' histories. Despite the rivalry, we are able to rise above that to become one voice for the greater good of The 96 and the proud City of Liverpool.
"In terms of support for the Reds' Rose Walk, EFC and its supporters are worthy of the epithet "The People's Club". The walkers all wish to thank you sincerely for the way you helped make our humble efforts a great success. In the wee small hours when we were cold, wet and delirious due to lack of sleep, we all agreed that if we weren't Reds, we would be proud to be Evertonians."
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