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Friday, August 20, 1999 Published at 18:36 GMT 19:36 UK


Tribute to Marchioness victims

"There will be yet more tears"

Hundreds of people have attended a memorial service to mark the 10th anniversary of the Marchioness riverboat tragedy, which claimed 51 lives.

[ image: Former England rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio: Sister died in tragedy]
Former England rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio: Sister died in tragedy
Survivors of the disaster and relatives of the bereaved packed Southwark Cathedral in south London, close to the spot on the Thames where the Marchioness collided with the dredger Bowbelle.

Canon Dr Jeffrey John, Canon Chancellor of Southwark Cathedral, praised the courage of the bereaved. "I want to add a thanksgiving for your own survival," he said.

He described the service as a thanksgiving for those who had died, for the "strength and survival" of the bereaved and for the "relief and new hope" offered by the government's decision to open an inquiry into the tragedy.

The BBC's Paul Curran reports: "About 250 people attended the service"
He said only by "confronting the truth of what happened that terrible night can we hope for any good to come".

But he said the process would reopen wounds and reawaken memories. "You will need yet more courage and there will be yet more tears," he said.

The BBC's John Kay attended the service: "It was a deeply moving and emotional moment"
Canon John said the decision to open the inquiry would help end a long and heavy sense of unfinished business, and would go a long way to help the process of closure and healing.

A specially written anthem, entitled River, was played. It is the work of Anthony Perks, whose brother Stephen was among the victims.

The most poignant part of the service was the lighting of 51 candles to remember each of those who died.

John Perks, father of one of the victims talks to BBC News
Mr Perks and Sally Smith, whose daughter Jayne, 20, died in the disaster, lit candles, as the names of the deceased were read out.

Bermondsey Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes read the much-loved "faith, hope and charity" reading from the Bible.

One of the prayers was read out by Onika Wellington, 10, who was just 12 days old when her brother Simon, 20, died on the Marchioness.

Earlier this week Mr Prescott announced that a public inquiry would be held into Thames river safety.

The inquiry will look at the circumstances of the Marchioness tragedy, and take evidence from survivors.

The senior judge in charge of the inquiry could then recommend a public inquiry into the Marchioness incident alone.

A memorial service has been held every year for the past 10 years. This year's event was the biggest single service and will most likely be the last.

The families of those who died have decided it is time to move on.

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