Runcorn teen and dad were sharing their first Liverpool away match when they both died at Hillsborough

Runcorn mum recalls how her teenage son and husband died at Hillsborough

Thomas Howard junior

Thomas Howard senior

First published in News
Last updated
Runcorn and Widnes World: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

A RUNCORN teenager and his dad were looking forward to watching their first Liverpool away game together when they both died at Hillsborough, an inquest heard today.

Thomas Howard, aged 14, had pestered his 39-year-old dad, also called Thomas, to get him a ticket for the semi-final.

His mum, Linda, told the inquest in Warrington that she was reluctant to let him go, but her husband had reassured her, saying ‘He’ll be alright, he’ll be with me.’ She said she didn’t want him to go but knew it would break his heart if she didn’t. She said he was so excited, she couldn’t disappoint him.

She said she remembers everything that happened on the morning of the match, April 15, 1989.

She recalled watching her son leave and remembers waving to him from the kitchen window. She yearned for him to turn and wave again.

She said: “I felt my heart would break if he didn’t. I don’t know why I felt that way, but my Tommy, true to form, turned and gave me a final loving wave.

“I didn’t know that would be the last time I would see him.”

After he died, she said his school brought her some of his exercise books and things he had made in homework.

Linda said: “One of them was a boomerang. How ironic. I remember saying saying to the teacher, but Tommy never came back.”

Mother-of-three Linda said Tommy, her first born, was “so happy and full of life”.

She said he had blonde, curly hair and was so passionate about his hobbies, including karate, that he made them all want to join in.

She added: “He always wanted to be like his dad and loved going to matches with him.

“He was just a normal schoolboy who wanted to be like his dad. He had everything going for him.

“He just wanted to go to the football match and watch his team play.”

Her son, Alan, and daughter, Gail, recalled how distraught they felt when the news was broken to them.

Alan said: “To be sat down and told by our mother one spring morning that our father and brother had gone to heaven when we were just 11 and eight years of age is something we found exceedingly difficult to come to terms with and still do today.

“It is saddening that he isn’t with us to see his beautiful grandchildren, his grandson being given his first name in his and our brother’s memory. All because they only went to watch a game of football.”

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