Liverpool fans were today urged to play their part in helping restore the Hillsborough Memorial Garden in Port Sunlight after mindless vandals damaged the commemorative area earlier this month.
Memorial stones were thrown across the garden in the Merseyside village and decorative balustrades were smashed during the attack by a gang of youths in the early hours of Sunday June 7.
"Everybody I've spoken to in the village is deeply upset by this," said Lionel Bolland of the Port Sunlight Village Trust.
"I can't believe how anybody could act in such a base way and can't find the words to describe how despicable this act is.
"Someone was looking at the smashed stones lying on the ground and said to me that they might as well be the 96 who lost their lives in Hillsborough lying there.
"It's going to cost a lot of money to restore, because the monument features natural stone.
"We need to make sure that it's carefully and sensitively restored."
Distressed villagers are now appealing to supporters to help them raise the minimum cost of £20,000 needed to cover the insurance excess and repair and restore the monument.
Port Sunlight resident Kerri Dobbins told Liverpoolfc.tv: "I was so distressed by the whole thing that I felt the need to do something to help.
"The pain the Hillsborough families are feeling because of this damage must be horrendous.
"Although I'm a Stockport County supporter, I remember the day of Hillsborough vividly. It's ingrained on my mind.
"I watched the events unfold live on television and was distraught by the press photographs that arrived the following day. They've constantly been in my mind for the last 20 years.
"We want to put right the wrongs that have been done to the garden and restore it."
Leaflets will be distributed around Merseyside in hotels and railway stations urging fans to donate to the cause.
Mr Dobbins added: "We need to raise a minimum of £20,000 to cover the insurance excess, but we're hoping to raise over and above that so we can install cctv
security in the area, which the insurance won't pay for, as well as tidy up the other areas of the garden.
"Any remaining funds will be donated to the Hillsborough Family Support Group."
Fans can currently donate by cheque, which should be made out The Hillsborough Memorial Restoration Fund and sent to -
c/o Port Sunlight Village Trust
23 King Georges Drive
A bank account has also been opened to allow fans to directly transfer funds to the appeal using the following details -
Port Sunlight Branch of Natwest
Account Number: 47625872
Sort code: 010702
The memorial area was built by Unilever shortly after the stadium disaster 20 years ago and is situated near the Grade II listed Lady Lever Art Gallery. Source