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Saturday, 04 July 2015

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West Cumbrian service to mark Titanic centenary

More than 100 people gathered at Maryport’s Christ Church to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic on Sunday.

The moving ceremony began with Sea Cadets carrying in the Union flag, followed by the poignant and appropriate sailors’ hymn For Those In Peril On The Sea.

The Rev Canon Gill Hart read What is Dying by Bishop Brent, a poem which deals with a ship disappearing over the horizon.

Mrs Hart then lit a candle for all those who died and all those whose lives were changed following the sinking.

While violinist Kevin Hamil played Nearer My God to Thee, members of the Ismay family, whose ancestor Thomas Ismay owned the White Star Line, laid flowers at the altar.

Members of Maryport Maritime Museum, who are responsible for a major exhibition at the Wave Centre, then spoke about some of the passengers and crew on the ill-fated liner.

They were led by Cliff Ismay, who spoke about Bruce Ismay, the owner of Titanic and son of Thomas.

He said that Ismay took a seat on a lifeboat that was not going to be occupied by anyone else but spent the rest of his life tormented by images of that fateful night.

The Rev Susan McKendrey said it was appropriate that Maryport remembered the event.

She said: “Thomas Ismay, who owned the White Star Line, was born here and never forgot his roots.

“The clock on this very church was donated by the Ismay family.

“There are stained glass windows at St Mary’s remembering Thomas and his daughter Mary and Thomas Ismay gave to the poor here. We have a lot to remember him by.”

She spoke about the despair of the night and how, when people may have thought God had deserted him, they still turned to him in hope, as evidenced by the orchestra which played Nearer My God to Thee as the ship sank.

She also spoke of the changes that had occurred since the Titanic, the lessons learned and the lives that might have been saved from 1912 to 2012 because of those changes.

Peter Kendall, town mayor, attended as did councillors Carni-McCarron Holmes and Angela Kendall and the town’s other clergy.

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