Sep 18 2012 By David Baker, Harrow Observer
Hillsborough victim Vicky Hicks
THREE years ago, more than 10,000 people gathered at Liverpool FC's Anfield home to remember the 96 fans killed at Hillsborough 20 years ago. Among those who died during that tragic FA Cup semi-final were two young girls from Pinner.
Pinner Observer reporter David Baker spoke to the girls' dad, Trevor Hicks, who was also at the ground, about that fateful day and the importance of remembering those who died two decades later
On April 15, 1989 Trevor Hicks, his wife Jenni and their two daughters Vicky and Sarah were looking forward to a family day out to watch their beloved Liverpool FC.
The four were avid football fans who made the long trip from Pinner to Merseyside every other week as season ticket holders in the famed Kop end at Anfield.
So when the Reds progressed to the semi-final of the FA Cup that year the four were always likely to get their hands on tickets for the tie against Nottingham Forest, held at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground.
But 20 years on, it is a set of tickets Trevor has spent every day since wishing they had never bought.
At that game thousands of Liverpool fans were guided into crowded pens and crushed up against 10ft high spiked metal bars.
As a result 96 people, including Trevor's two daughters, were killed. Another 750 were injured.
Trevor said: "Of course I have spent a lot of time thinking 'what if?'. What if we didn't get tickets, what if I hadn't bought a coffee five minutes before the game and not been separated from them, what if only one of them had died?
"But I could do this about everything and it wouldn't bring them back.
"The fact is the girls loved going to watch Liverpool. It was one thing we all did as a family and it was great to spend time together."
Jenni had got a ticket in a different stand to her daughters and Trevor - who had tickets for the now infamous Leppings Lane terrace.
Once there Trevor, now 63, went to get a coffee while his daughters joined up with friends. He added: "They had a lot of friends at the ground like always, so it was fairly typical of them to want to dump the old fella.
"Of course it was in a light-hearted way and so we waved each other off, the two of them going in to the ground and me going for a coffee.
"When I got in I looked at the pen they were in, which by the way is the only word to describe it because they were penned in like animals; it was clear that something was wrong.
"The section I was in was pretty much empty - it was disgusting.
"I saw Victoria being passed over the fence and on to the pitch so I managed to make my way down to see if she was okay.
"When I got down there both my girls were lying yards from each other."
With the help of a man who turned out to be a doctor, Trevor did his best to resuscitate them. But because only one ambulance was able to make it on to the pitch, he was left with the impossible decision of whether to go in the ambulance with Vicky or stay with Sarah.
He got in the ambulance knowing Sarah was being tended to by a doctor, but tragically neither survived.
For the next six months Trevor says he could not get the taste of Vicky's vomit from his mouth, and he was eventually diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Less than a year later the grief proved too much for him and Jenni to cope with and the two went their separate ways, moving away from their family home in White Craig Close, Pinner - a move that was difficult for him.
He adds: "Pinner holds a great place in my heart because it was where we were as a family, where the girls grew up and where we have a lot of fond memories.
"The girls had a lot of close friends in the area and obviously went to school there.
"Everyone in Pinner thought we were mad travelling all that way all the time and the girls were always known as the 'London Kop' because of their roots in Pinner."
Vicky and Sarah attended Longfield First and Middle School in Pinner, before going to the prestigious Haberdashers' Aske's school for girls in Hertfordshire.
Vicky, who was 15 when she died, was still a pupil there, while Sarah, who had celebrated her 19th birthday just five days earlier, had been studying at Liverpool University.
Sarah was a straight A student who turned down a place at Oxford, while Vicky was on a similar path.
And while Trevor says the phrase "would have been" is something that never seems to go away the one thing he was sure of was the support he received on the 20th anniversary of their death.
He said: "The support has been incredible and the attention the anniversary of Hillsborough has attracted has been fantastic.
"A lot of new football fans, who are from a completely new generation, realise the devastation of Hillsborough, and hopefully it is something that will never be forgotten.
"It is because of Hillsborough that these fans can feel a sense of safety at games."