Re­mem­ber­ing the Her­ald

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - TWENTY YEARS ON - by Mary Gra­ham

HUN­DREDS of peo­ple at­tended a ser­vice in St Mary’s Church, Dover, to mark the 20th an­niver­sary of the Her­ald of Free En­ter­prise tragedy on Sun­day. The church is home to a stained glass win­dow in me­mory of the dis­as­ter, plus a scroll list­ing the names of those who died. The Her­ald of Free En­ter­prise cap­sized on the evening of March 6, 1987, with the loss of 193 lives. Dur­ing the ser­vice prayers were said for sur­vivors, the be­reaved and all those on both sides of the Chan­nel who had helped as part of the res­cue ef­fort. The Rev Ni­co­las Stacey, for­mer di­rec­tor of Kent County Coun­cil so­cial ser­vices, gave an ad­dress call­ing for the hero­ism of the Her­ald’s crew to be pub­licly ac­knowl­edged. He said: “In the blame game that fol­lowed the ac­ci­dent, the out­stand­ing, self­less work of the crew in res­cu­ing was never fully ac­knowl­edged. I want to put the record straight. Most of the 313 pas­sen­gers who were res­cued owe their lives to the crew. They were he­roes.” Dover Mayor Cllr Jan Tran­ter lit a can­dle ded­i­cated to those caught up in the tragedy and a me­mo­rial book has been opened for peo­ple to record their thoughts. The book will be kept in Dover. John Hud­son, a se­nior stew­ard on board the Her­ald on the night she cap­sized, trav­elled to Dover from Corn­wall. He said: “I have not been able to bring my­self to at­tend such ser­vices in the past. “It might be the last time that a me­mo­rial is held on such a grand scale. I was ap­pre­hen­sive be­fore­hand about see­ing peo­ple from the ship af­ter so many years, but I have had the chance to catch up with sev­eral good friends and it has brought mem­o­ries back, as if it was yes­ter­day.” Janet John­ston, one of the first coun­sel­lors to come to Dover in 1987, and who worked with oth­ers to cre­ate the ser­vice, added: “The ser­vice was ex­quis­ite. See­ing sur­vivors and catch­ing up with how they are now and how their chil­dren and now grand­chil­dren have fared in the last 20 years was very spe­cial and hum­bling.”

Janet John­ston, the deputy team leader of the Her­ald As­sis­tance Unit, pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus Bill Yule, a child psy­chol­o­gist at the Maud­s­ley hospi­tal, Colin Weaver, the team leader of the Her­ald As­sis­tance Unit, Kate Weaver, a coun­sel­lor at the Her­ald As­sis­tance Unit and Oliver Mills, di­rec­tor of So­cial Ser­vices for Kent, are re­united

Pic­tures: Matt McAr­dle pd1164614

The Rev David Ri­d­ley con­ducts the ser­vice at St Mary’s Church, Dover

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