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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 August, 2003, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Guided tours reveal island secrets
Charles Dickens c/o Hulton Archive
Dickens reported on the Royal Charter sinking near Moelfre
A small lifeboat village on Anglesey is celebrating its links with Charles Dickens as it unveils a series of guided tours.

The author of Oliver Twist and Great Expectations features in a new series of heritage walks at Moelfre.

While working as a journalist, Dickens stayed in the village in 1859 to report on the sinking of the Royal Charter which went down in a storm on its way to Liverpool with the loss of 450 people.

The series of four walks have been devised by the Moelfre Partnership, a group set up by the local residents, to attract more visitors.

They have received £18,000 from the Carnegie UK Trust to develop projects that make the most of the area's heritage and history, in conjunction with Menter Môn initiative.

The walks - two with local guides and two self-guided - were launched on Wednesday, when around 15 visitors joined the very first tour which started from the Seawatch Centre.

Dickens stayed in the village in 1859

They are the brainchild of history teacher, Robin Evans, who has been researching Moelfre's history for 10 years.

"I saw the potential for it because of all the emphasis the government is putting on walking and health initiatives," he said.

"Moelfre has so many footpaths and a magnificent coastline, and so many things have happened here.

"We have the Hindlea, the Royal Charter sinking and all the medals won by local lifeboat men.

"And people from Moelfre have sailed all over the world," he added.


Among these was Thomas Lewis - Twm Penstryd - who was one of three sailors to survive the 1874 Cospatrick tragedy by resorting to"cannibalism".

Also on the guided walk entitled The World Famous Moelfre Tour is the house where artist Charles Tunnicliffe lived.

Marian Glas, the home of Hugh Griffith, who won an Oscar for his part in the Hollywood film, Ben Hur is also featured.

Tour guide Valmai Rees
Tours are conducted by local villagers

And the path passes the Lifeboat building from where coxswain Richard Evans, winner of two RNLI gold medals, lead numerous rescue efforts in treacherous seas.

It also passes Llanallgo church which was the site of a medieval murder as well as the setting for the wedding of the Irish songstress, Sinead O'Connor.

The Royal Charter tragedy is marked by a memorial on the coast on the village's outskirts.

It is believed Dickens stayed either at the local Rectory or in a house in the village itself while he reported on the event.

Elizabeth East, Executive Director of the Carnegie UK Trust said the grant was given to encourage the community to look at projects that would benefit the area.

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