Shelagh Fogarty on her experience of the Hillsborough disaster

Broadcaster and journalist Shelagh Fogarty talks to Kate about her first experience of the Hillsborough disaster as it happened, and how her work at Radio Merseyside lead to a thirty year journey, reporting the truth.

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Video transcript

SHELAGH FOGARTY: I was working on reception and in the newsroom doing literally newsroom support stuff. And I popped in on the Saturday. I first heard about Hillsborough in town-- I was in town shopping. And I overheard-- there was a guy-- there used to be a guy who had a fruit stall in the center. And he always had a transistor radio really loudly with the match on, whichever match it was. And I could see loads of people around the stall talking to him and talking to each other. And you can see something as odd and not quite right. So I went to-- nosy natural journalist--

KATE THORNTON: You know something big is happening when people watch the radio, right? When people watch the radio, something big is going down.

SHELAGH FOGARTY: They were all going over to it. And I thought, what's that? And then I said to some woman, what's going on? And she said, apparently, there's been a-- a wall or something has fallen down at the Liverpool game. Oh, OK. I just went to the station straightaway just to find out, really, what was going on. And it would have been about-- now bear in mind, the thing happened at 3 o'clock, 3:15. And this would have been about 4:00, 4:15. So a good hour had gone by.

So by the time I got to the station, they already had a death figure of about 25, 26 people. And I walked into reception. And the woman who was on reception said to me, oh, great. Did someone call you? And I said, no, I'm just coming in to find out what's happening. She said, get behind here. So I was behind reception. And then that's when the whole thing just grew, and grew, and grew, and grew before our eyes, really. And so that would have been 4 o'clock in the afternoon.

And by about 8:00 in the evening-- this is all pre-Twitter. By about 8:00 in the evening, fans-- Liverpool fans were coming from Sheffield. And they were getting off their coaches in their trains and going straight to Radio Merseyside, straight to Radio City, and straight to the Echo.

KATE THORNTON: --to tell the truth the truth.

SHELAGH FOGARTY: To tell the truth because they already knew what was happening. And they were coming as individuals. They weren't en masse with a story to tell that would cover their arses. They were coming to tell because they knew.


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