Colin Mark Ashcroft

Colin Mark Ashcroft

Age: 19

Colin Ashcroft, was born in Colchester, the middle child of three siblings. He travelled on his own to the game on a coach organised by the Liverpool Supporters' Club.

Colin had suffered from various health problems early-on in life but, as his mother Janet told the inquests, he "overcame his difficulties to be as independent as he was able. He is greatly missed by his family."

Portrait by his mother Janet Russell

Colin Mark Ashcroft was born on June 8, 1969 at Colchester Military Hospital. He only weighed 4 lbs 3 ozs and had various problems. He was six weeks old before he came home from hospital. He continued to have problems, and was behind with all his milestones.

He was nearly two before he could walk, and two-and-a-half before he started talking. Although once he started, he made up for lost time! Colin was the middle child of three, having an older sister, Michelle, and a younger brother, Gary.

In June 1972, due to a family bereavement, we made the decision to move to Golborne, Lancashire, near to my husband's parents.

When Colin was five, he had to be assessed by an educational psychologist to ascertain which school he should attend. A decision was made to send him to a mainstream school and he attended Lowton West primary school.

He learnt to read as well as the rest of the children in his class, but he struggled with all other aspects of his school life. When he was seven, he was re-assessed and a decision was made to send him to a special school. He went to Landgate School, near Wigan.

In 1978, we applied for a house in Birchwood, part of the Warrington New Town development scheme, and were successful. Colin moved to Green Lane special school at Padgate. He was very gregarious, and soon made friends, both at school and in our new neighbourhood, where he would play out with his sister and brother.

He had a great sense of humour and most adults found him charming. He did have a bad temper at times, but it didn't usually last for long.

He took an interest in politics as he got older and enjoyed watching Question Time on television. He thought Maggie Thatcher was the best thing since sliced bread. He also enjoyed watching sport.

He wasn't much good at it himself because he had a poor sense of balance and coordination problems which caused him to fall over easily. He was also epileptic. He loved football and started off supporting Manchester United, like his father and brother, but one year when United weren't doing so well, he switched allegiance to Liverpool FC.

I don't know if it was because he was disappointed in United or because, being Colin, he wanted to be different from everyone else. Having decided to support Liverpool, he was very loyal to them. While Liverpool were the top team in the land, Colin loved to keep reminding his brother of that fact, such was his sense of mischief.

When he left Green Lane School at 16, he attended a Horizons life skills course at Warrington Technical College, which he enjoyed. When he completed the course, he was found a job on a government training scheme helping the gardeners at Padgate College. He got paid £35 a week on the scheme.

Colin developed a very sociable side to his character. He would go out with his friends from school to the local pub or to a disco in town at a social club.

When he was 18, he asked about going to watch Liverpool play at Anfield. I was a bit dubious about him going to matches at first, so I told him if he saved up for a season ticket he could go, never thinking that he would manage to save enough on scheme money.

He was, however, determined to go and see his team play and he managed to save the required amount. We did our research and went to Liverpool by train from Birchwood. Then we found the bus station and found out which bus he had to catch to Anfield, and Colin bought a season ticket.

I also satisfied myself that he would be able to get there without too much difficulty When Liverpool got through to the semi-final against Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough in 1989, naturally he was keen to go and watch the match.

By then, he was 19 and had been going to home matches for a year. Again, I was worried but didn't want to stand in his way. I did some more research and found out that there was an 'Anfield Travel Club' that he could join and he would be able to travel by coach from Anfield to away matches.

We got photos taken for his ID card and enrolled him in the travel club. This made me happier, to know that he would be taken directly to the ground with the other fans on the coach.

I sent for his ticket, which he paid me for. When the ticket came, we studied the diagram of the layout of the ground on the back of it and decided that he needed to go through the tunnel, as he wanted to be behind the goal.

He was a well-liked, mostly cheerful, well-rounded young man who overcame his difficulties to be as independent as he was able.

He was becoming thoughtful about other people and much more level-headed and had a great future ahead of him. He is greatly missed by his family.

 

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