BISHOP of Liverpool James Jones has been named the Liverpool Post Leader of the Year for 2012.
The Bishop took the overall prize at last night’s awards ceremony for leading the Hillsborough Independent Panel which finally cleared Liverpool fans of any blame in the 1989 disaster.
The judges said the release of the panel’s report in September was such a landmark moment for Merseyside that Bishop James stood head and shoulders above the other category winners.
Last night’s inaugural Leaders Awards ceremony was held at the Museum of Liverpool and hosted by veteran TV presenter Gordon Burns.
Bishop James said: “I do not receive this with a smile on my face. I accept this on behalf of the 96 who died, mindful of them and mindful of their families.
“When I was asked ‘What did we hope to achieve?’ I said these words not really knowing or understanding – truth will have its own pressure.
“In bringing these documents into the light, it showed more than I realised at the time that truth does indeed have its own pressure. That truth now must lead to justice and we look forward to that day as well.”
Liverpool Post and ECHO managing director Steve Anderson-Dixon presented the award to Bishop James.
In the judges’ citation, they said when the Government finally bowed to pressure for an independent panel to be set up, it had to be led by someone with unimpeachable credentials.
They added: “It needed someone, above all, with the integrity and respect to be listened to, trusted and believed by everyone from the family members to the highest levels of government.
“It needed a great leader, and perhaps one who was uniquely placed to undertake this role.
“The results of the Bishop’s work are that the fight for the truth is over, and that the fight for justice for the 96 is moving forward with a pace and momentum that would have seemed impossible just a few short months ago.”
The awards, held in association with the University of Liverpool Management School, saw the publication of a list of the 250 most influential people across the region (read it here).
Readers nominated outstanding leaders across 12 categories.