Today is the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans at an FA Cup semi-final.

The last to die was 22-year-old Tony Bland, of Keighley, after a prolonged court battle by his parents Allan and Barbara Bland.

The Blands have steeled themselves for heart-rending memories to come flooding back when they attend the Hillsborough memorial service at Liverpool FC’s Anfield ground today.

They were being supported by their daughter Angela, her husband Andrew and 17-year-old grandson Daniel.

Tony was an 18-year-old Liverpool fan when he was crushed as fans surged forward at the Sheffield Wednesday ground.

But it took four years and a history-making legal decision in the High Court before Tony, by then 22, was allowed to die with dignity when his breathing tube was switched off at Airedale General Hospital, Steeton.

He had been in what doctors described as a persistent vegetative state, his brain having been starved of oxygen during the Hillsborough disaster.

“Tony was four years in a coma so we couldn’t grieve for him,” said Mr Bland, 73, yesterday.

“It will be a very emotional time for us at Anfield. It will bring it all back. I feel it every time I hear the Liverpool anthem of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.”

Mr Bland, a retired warehouseman, of Castle Hill Court, Keighley, had to identify his son from photographs pinned to the wall of a mobile police building near a temporary morgue in the ground.

He said: “He was classified as a missing person. I got down there at 6.30pm on the Saturday and it was 3am the next morning before I was able to identify him.

“He was eventually taken the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield and it was so awful to see him with all those tubes into him – my wife was sick with the shock when she saw him. But, of course it wasn’t over. It was four years before we could finally say our farewells to him following the legal battle.”

During that time the couple also had to face torment from the pro-life campaigner Father James Morrow and his supporters who held protests outside the hospital. Mr Bland said: “That was a very difficult time.”

As members of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, they are backing the fight to have a public inquiry – twice refused by the Government.

Mr Bland said: “I still don’t know exactly what happened to Tony all this time on. We know he was put in the ambulance on the pitch and he was given resuscitation.

“There should be a full inquiry but if it doesn’t happen then in five years under the Freedom of Information Act, the details should be made public. That’s what we hope will happen.”

Meanwhile, the couple can only wonder what Tony would be like had he lived. Mrs Bland, 68, said: “He would have been 38 now – I sometimes think of just what he would be doing and what he would be like.”