Former Bishop of Liverpool knighted for work with Hillsborough families

Bishop Jones, now assistant bishop in the Diocese of York, is working on a report based on the experiences of the families to learn from the tragedy and their battle for justice.
Bishop Jones, now assistant bishop in the Diocese of York, is working on a report based on the experiences of the families to learn from the tragedy and their battle for justice.

The former bishop of Liverpool has described the bittersweet moment he was knighted for his work with the Hillsborough families.

Bishop James Jones, 68, said he was "very humbled and honoured" to be recognised at Buckingham Palace, but remained "mindful" of the injustice faced by relatives in the 28 years since the disaster.

He chaired the Hillsborough Independent Panel, credited by the families as being the first time they were listened to and taken seriously.

After becoming a Knight Commander he said: "Although I've met the Queen on a number of occasions, nothing takes away from that extraordinary moment of being given the honour.

"But of course although I'm very honoured, I'm also very mindful of all those who have been bereaved through tragedy and suffered injustice."

The panel's report, published in 2012, said a cover-up to shift the blame on to victims had taken place following the 1989 disaster.

Last April, a jury in new inquests found the 96 Liverpool FC fans were unlawfully killed and supporters were not to blame.

The families of the victims were pleased that Bishop Jones had been honoured, and felt it was "recognition" of their fight for justice, he said.

"Some time into the work of chairing the Hillsborough panel, the families said to me, this is the first time that anybody has really listened to us, this is the first time that anybody has taken us seriously," he added.

"So for them, the award to me is an award to somebody who took them seriously."

Bishop Jones, now assistant bishop in the Diocese of York, is working on a report based on the experiences of the families to learn from the tragedy and their battle for justice.

He said: "When you listen to the families they say that their struggle has not been just for them and the 96, but they believe that what they have been working for is of importance to the whole nation.

"Because the things that have happened to them, sadly have happened to other people, and we've got to listen and hopefully, by listening to them, become a better nation."