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Ceremony at Dover for 31st anniversary of sinking of ferry Herald of Free Enterprise

By Sam Lennon

Dover today remembered the Herald of Free Enterprise tragedy on its 31st anniversary.

Friends and relatives of those who perished and many local people attended the remembrance service at the town's St Mary's Church.

Dover MP Charlie Elphicke, Dover mayor Neil Rix and Dover District Council chairman Sue Chandler were also among those paying their respects.

Herald commemoration.Pictured are Cllrs Chandler and Rix and Charlie Elphicke. Picture courtesy of MP Charlie Elphicke
Herald commemoration.Pictured are Cllrs Chandler and Rix and Charlie Elphicke. Picture courtesy of MP Charlie Elphicke

A roll-call was read out of the names of the 193 people who lost their lives when the Herald of Free Enterprise capsized off Zeebrugge on the evening of Friday, March 6, 1987.

The service, led by Rev Mark Warner of the Sailors’ Society, included hymns Abide With Me and Eternal Father, Strong to Save.

An acapella version of Amazing Grace was also sung.

The Rev Bill McCrea, who was the Sailors’ Society Port Chaplain in 1987, spoke of the “heartbreak and agony” felt by the families of the victims.

He remembered how he had given the first service to mark the tragedy in the 1980s at Dover seafront.

The Rev McCrea said the victims will never be forgotten.

The ceremony was closed with a benediction from Rev John Walker, St Mary’s Church team Rector.

Families of the victims then cast flowers into the sea from Admiralty Pier.

Mr Elphicke said afterwards: “Yet again, as they do every year, the people of Dover came out in large numbers to support the families of the victims."

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