Hero­ine who saved sailors from cer­tain death re­mem­bered

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - NEWS - BY DAVID PROC­TOR

Scores of peo­ple turned out to mark the cen­te­nary of the death of a dar­ing north­east wo­man.

Jane Whyte risked her own life to save 15 sailors who be­came stranded off New Aber­dour in Oc­to­ber 1884.

She was walk­ing along the beach when she spot­ted the steamer Wil­liam Hope drift­ing dan­ger­ously to­wards rocks.

The Dundee steamer had suf­fered en­gine fail­ure and Mrs Whyte waded into the icy North Sea to throw a rope to help the men reach dry land.

Mrs Whyte was given the RNLI sil­ver medal and £10 for her brav­ery.

On Satur­day, her rel­a­tives, dig­ni­taries from the RNLI and lo­cals turned out to mark the 100th an­niver­sary of her death.

A piper played and flo­ral trib­utes were laid at the ru­ins of Mrs Whyte’s cot­tage at New Aber­dour beach.

Fraser­burgh’s lifeboat sat in the wa­ters of Aber­dour Bay near the rocks that wrecked the Wil­liam Hope.

In­ter­pre­ta­tion boards were also un­veiled, telling the story of the hero­ine’s re­mark­able ef­forts.

The mother-of-nine’s great-great-grand­son Rob­bie Kel­man has been in­volved with the com­mem­o­ra­tion of his rel­a­tive’s ac­tions.

He made an 11th-hour bid to track down the fam­i­lies of the sailors who Mrs Whyte saved, but de­spite his pleas no­body came for­ward.

Mr Kel­man said: “I was ex­tremely proud.

“I’ve al­ways been fas­ci­nated by her feat of dar­ing and brav­ery.

“I al­ways used to go down to the beach where it hap­pened with my dad.

“There hadn’t been any­thing to com­mem­o­rate this apart from a plaque that went up in the 1980s.”

He added: “It is im­por­tant that we tell her story.”

Mr Kel­man is at­tempt­ing to raise funds for a Jane Whyte ex­hi­bi­tion at Fraser­burgh Her­itage Cen­tre and he is also writ­ing a mu­si­cal fea­tur­ing the events of Oc­to­ber 28 1884.

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