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MV Princess Victoria memorial service set to recall local ferry disaster losses

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A memorial service is to be held to mark the 64th anniversary of one of the UK’s worst peacetime sea disasters, the loss of the Stranraer- Larne Ferry, MV Princess Victoria in the ‘Great Storm’ of 1953.

The service is being organised by the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes MV Princess Victoria Lodge 5050 in association with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

The annual event will be held at 11am, 31 January 2017, at the Princess Victoria Memorial, Chaine Memorial Road, Larne.

The Mayor of Mid and east Antrim Borough, Councillor Audrey Wales said: “On the morning of the disaster, the Princess Victoria set sail for Larne at 7.45am.

“After leaving the shelter of Loch Ryan, the ship struggled against winds, with recorded gusts of over 80mph, and mountainous seas, more than 50ft high.

“Despite the valiant efforts of her crew, lifeboat men and other seafarers, the Princess Victoria foundered off the coast of Northern Ireland, within sight of the Copeland Islands near the entrance to Belfast Lough.

“Some 177 people were on board including 49 members of crew with the disaster claiming the lives of 134 people. This had a huge impact on Larne with 27 of the victims being from the town.

“All women and children on board were lost in this tragedy,” said Cllr Wales who added that members of the public are being invited to attend the short service.

“This is to better remember those who lost their lives in this disaster as well as to show respect for the bravery of all those involved in the rescue operation.

“Everyone is then welcome to return to Larne Leisure Centre for light refreshments following the commemoration service,” Cllr Wales concluded.

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