THE memory of Hillsborough victim Carl Brown will live on in Leigh thanks to a unique and poignant art exhibition which opens this week.
The 18-year-old was one of 96 fans who died during the FA Cup semi-final between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool in 1989.
Now Leigh graffiti artist Gecko, who was friends with Carl as a youngster, has created 96 canvasses in honour of the victims who lost their lives and the families who fought for justice.
His work, called Sprays for justice in memory of Carl Brown, has gone on display at the Turnpike Gallery in Leigh.
“The events of September 12, the day the Hillsborough Independent Panel published its report, resonated with me and I started thinking about Carl and his family,” he said.
“I did a painting for our MP Andy Burnham as a thank-you for everything he had done, then one for Steve Rotheram, the MP for Walton, and it evolved from there.”
The 45-year-old, who also painted the memorial wall at the site where 10-year-old Lauren Pilkington-Smith was murdered in 2005, used spray paint to create the red Hillsborough images.
“I am a Manchester City fan but all football supporters were touched by Hillsborough and I would like all football fans to visit the gallery,” he said.
“This is not about me, it’s about Carl and his family and all the families affected by what happened.”
Sprays for justice runs at The Turnpike until January 26, but a special event is being held on Friday at 5pm which will be attended by guests including Carl’s mum Delia, Steve Rotheram and Margaret Aspinall, chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group.
Andy Burnham, who was instrumental in establishing the Hillsborough Independent Panel and helped to get the exhibition finalised, said: “On the day the panel report came out Gecko came into my constituency office and gave me this brilliant canvass, one of the best things I have ever been given.
“With this exhibition we want to get the message across that Hillsborough wasn’t just Liverpool’s tragedy, it was everyone’s tragedy and Leigh and Atherton were very affected by it.
“The Turnpike is a bit of a gem in Leigh. It’s an unusual thing to do but great for the town. Most importantly, it’s for the people who remember Carl, especially his family.”
Mr Burnham and Gecko are hoping the exhibition will be moved to Liverpool and eventually find a permanent home.