Eddie Spearritt regained consciousness in hospital the day after the tragedy to be told his son Adam, aged 14 years and 10 months, had died despite his desperate attempts to save him from the crush on the Leppings Lane terraces.
Janet Spearritt, Adam’s mother and Eddie’s widow gave another poignant pen portrait of one of the 96 Hillsborough victims, at the new inquests into the disaster.
She said her husband had desperately tried to save their son and struggled to forgive himself afterwards.
“He would say it was his job to protect Adam and he failed,” Mrs Spearritt said.
“Sadly Eddie died three years ago without really knowing that his efforts in helping to fight for a new inquest were coming to fruition.”
Ms Spearritt said her football-mad son had a ball at his feet from the moment he could walk, would watch his father play football, read Roy Of The Rovers magazines and collect football stickers.
She told the jury that many a time they would glue Subbuteo players back together and set up the children’s game “so that England could beat Brazil in the World Cup final”.
He loved being on the Kop at Anfield watching his heroes, Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen in the red of Liverpool.
She said: “He had a kind, caring considerate nature. We all loved him dearly and he in return loved all of us, but more than that he loved life itself.”
The inquests held before a jury in Warrington, Cheshire, resumed after being adjourned for a week as the 25th anniversary of the tragedy was marked.
The hearing continued with heart-rending “pen portraits” as each bereaved family gave brief statements about their loved one who died as Liverpool played Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup tie at Hillsborough in Sheffield on April 15, 1989.
Craig Fitzsimmons told the jury about his father, Vincent Fitzsimmons, who was aged 34 when he died at Hillsborough.
Born in Liverpool, his family moved to the US for three years when he was 13, but returned to settle in Winsford, Cheshire. Later he moved to Ashton-in-Makerfield, near Wigan, and worked as a supervisor for Linpac Mouldings.
Mr Fitzsimmons, flanked by his mother Susan and wife Natalie, said: “Dad was bigger than life, as far as I was concerned he could do no wrong. I loved him so much. He was friendly, outgoing and full of fun.
“I was so lucky to have him as my dad. I was only nine years old when he died.”
His father, who played football himself, would hold his son up on the Kop as they watched their heroes play at Anfield.
“If I close my eyes now I can see my dad playing football,” Mr Fitzsimmons said.
He added: “When Dad died it left a huge void in my life. I suppose I have never really got over the fact that I lost my dad so suddenly in such an awful way.
“I have missed his love, support and advice over the years. He was not present on the day that I got married and the birth of his first grandchild.”
Raymond Chapman was 50 when he died, a husband to Joan and father-of-two.
A machine setter who lived on the Wirrall, he loved nothing more than watching Liverpool play and only went to the Hillsborough game after a friend at his local pub could not go and gave him his ticket.