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The touching moment in ITV’s Anne that paid tribute to Sheffield’s spirit


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ITV’s new drama Anne has captured the nation’s hearts through its depiction of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

Following the true story of Anne Williams, it tells how her 15-year-old son Kevin was one of the 97 football fans killed in the disaster, and portrays her fight for justice for the victims.

While viewers have told of their visceral reactions to the show’s heartbreaking portrayal of the tragedy, many were also left touched by several scenes.

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One in particular has gathered attention, prompting the series’ screenwriter to offer an explanation as to why he included the poignant moment.

The much-talked about scene happens early into the first of the show’s four episodes, in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.

Desperate for news of Kevin, Anne and Steve Williams, played by Maxine Peake and Stephen Walters, make the drive from Liverpool to Sheffield in the hope of finding answers.

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But in their haste to leave, the distraught pair forget to fill up their car, but they do not realise until it is too late and they run out of petrol while driving across the Pennines.

Stranded, the pair find themselves reliant on the help of strangers, though they first need to find one.

Thankfully, after trekking to a farm, Steve is able to enlist the help of a local farmer.

Unsure of the kindness, Anne questions if the man is helping them, to which her partner replies: “People are good, Annie.

“Most people are good.”

Meanwhile, the farmer fills their car using a jerrycan of siphoned fuel, allowing the couple to then continue on their pivotal journey.

Before they leave, the farmer tells Anne: “Good luck, love. I hope it all works out for you.”

Filmed on the Snake Pass, the scene was intended to pay tribute to the generosity of the people of Sheffield.

Revealing his intention on Twitter, screenwriter Kevin Sampson wrote: “I can’t find the tweet now but somebody asked last night where the we filmed the scene when Anne & Steve’s car runs out of fuel. It was on the Snake Pass, halfway between Glossop and Sheffield. The scene is there to pay tribute to the generosity of the Sheffield people.”

The editor of Hillsborough Voices, Kevin was himself at Hillsborough on the day and watched the tragedy unfold.

He also helped to organise the Hillsborough benefit concert at Anfield and has close connections with the justice campaign.

Kevin’s tweet prompted numerous responses from people who similarly wished to pay their thanks to Sheffielders.

Jay Ray, who tweets @JayPRay77, wrote: “They were so generous. We were invited into a house to phone home and let loved ones know we were ok. The house was chocker and they were making cups of tea for everyone and offering food. This happened a lot I believe.”

A user called @kennyboyneil said: “My biggest regret is not remembering the house where a lovely old lady invited me in to use her phone and made me a cup of tea.”

Kevin responded: “I think you speak for all of us, Kenny. How many of us would love to have gone back and simply said Thanks.”

ITV’s show has been welcomed by several Hillsborough residents, many of whom were near the stadium on the day, though some added they have been unable to watch it themselves.

A security guard who works for Sheffield Wednesday, who did not wish to be named, told Yorkshire Live the memory remains too raw for several of his colleagues and friends.

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He said: “I have asked a few people at work if they have watched Anne and they said no because it is too upsetting and it brings back too many memories.

“It’s been awful because of Covid because you can’t let people in the ground. We used to let people into the ground to go into the stands where the people died.

“I saw a really big lad who was crying in front of me. It’s a horrible day when it’s the anniversary. All of the family and friends are there just crying.”

And Jean Knight, who opened her home on the day of the disaster, felt similarly.

Talking of the show online, she said: ” I did not watch it. I still recall that day. I had a Liverpool lad come into my home to phone his mum to let her know he was OK.

“He was in shock I made him stay a while and gave him a hot drink, I didn’t get his name but think he got his train home. God bless them all.”

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Written by: Rother Radio News

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