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Monday, 20 August, 2001, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Mormon mass migration remembered
The Sorlandet berthed at Albert Dock
Celebrations have been taking place in Liverpool to commemorate a major chapter in the city's history.

Tall ships, fireworks and music were all part of a day to remember Merseyside's place in the history of the Mormon Church.

An eight feet high statue was unveiled to mark the 85,000 people who passed through the port from 1851 heading for a new life in America.

Converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints flocked to America from Liverpool in the 19th Century, after chuch founder Joseph Smith called on them to create a new society in Utah.

Bronze gift

Two tall ships, the Sorlandet and the Mir, arrived in the city carrying descendents of those who made the original journey.

Norwegian vessel Sorlandet berthed at Liverpool's Albert Dock, and Russian square rigger Mir docked at the Pier Head.

The visits were part of the international Seatrek 2001 Festival to mark the 150th anniversary of the mass migration, with events in the UK and USA until October.

The bronze statue, weighing a ton, was unveiled at a private reception at the Museum of Liverpool Life.

The sculpture features a family group with a child stepping forward to symbolise the migration.

The work was made by Mark DeGraffenried at a studio 4,000 miles away in Utah, and donated by the Mormon Church.

The statue features a Mormon family

Members of the public will be able to see it at the museum from 21 August.

Liverpool's lord mayor councillor Gerry Scott said: ''This is a fine gesture and one I am delighted to accept on behalf of the city.

"Liverpool's maritime heritage is well-chronicled but this is one remarkable chapter which has only recently come to light."

Bill Sadleir, from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, said Liverpool formed "a central part of our international anniversary celebrations".

During the day the Pier Head in Liverpool was the venue for a free music festival.

A new oratorio "Saints in the Seas" was also specially written for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

See also:

17 Aug 01 | UK
Statue marks epic journey
19 Mar 01 | Americas
Mormons under pressure on drink
16 Apr 99 | Americas
Fatal shootout at Mormon library
15 Apr 99 | The Company File
Mormon family buys ICI chemicals
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