Marchioness Victims Remembered

The 51 people who lost their lives when a boat on the River Thames sank 25 years ago have been remembered at a service in Southwark.

Crowding round a flower-strewn, candle-lit memorial stone at Southwark Cathedral in south London, the families, and some survivors of the Marchioness disaster, heard the names read out of all those who died.

It was in the early hours of August 20, 1989, that the riverboat Marchioness collided with the dredger Bowbelle and sank in the Thames in central London.

Among those who died was Francesca Dallaglio, 19, the sister of former England rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio and merchant banker Antonio de Vasconcellos, whose 26th birthday was being celebrated aboard the Marchioness.

The names of the dead had also been read out at a lunchtime Eucharist in the cathedral during which bereaved mother Judy Wellington, whose son Simon, 20, was lost on the Marchioness, gave a Bible reading.

Among those at the cathedral was Margaret Lockwood Croft, 75, who lost her son Shaun, 26, in the disaster.

She said today: "Shaun is always in my thoughts. I have to hold on to all the memories - his laughter, his caring ways.

"He was born on the same day as me. He was the greatest birthday present I ever had."

Through the Marchioness Action Group, Mrs Lockwood Croft spearheaded the campaign for improved Thames safety standards which eventually led to lifeboat services, and other safety features, being provided on the Thames.

Representatives of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) and the Port of London Authority were at today's service.

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Admiring the flowers round the memorial stone, Elaine Langton spoke of her brother Peter Jaye, 27, who died in the disaster.

Accompanied by her daughter Judith and grandson Nick, 14, Mrs Langton said: "Peter was very outgoing and hard-working. He loved London."

Among those at Southwark who survived the sinking was Odette Penwarden, 67, who led the prayers at the Eucharist. She said: "I had five friends on the boat and sadly they all died."

One of the heroes of that night a quarter of a century ago was Richard Hall, then aged 21, who was on another pleasure boat - the Hurlingham - and who helped rescue people from the water.

At the cathedral Mr Hall, a London scaffolder, said: "I remember it all. It's all crystal clear - the impact, the boat going down.

"I managed to pull four people from the water and those on the Hurlingham rescued 28 in total."

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