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Funeral for last Titanic survivor

16 June 09 15:13 GMT

The funeral has been held of Millvina Dean, the last survivor of the sinking of the Titanic, who died aged 97.

Miss Dean was nine weeks old when the liner sank after hitting an iceberg in the early hours of 15 April 1912, on its maiden voyage from Southampton.

A private service, attended by family and friends, took place in Southampton on Tuesday.

Miss Dean died on 31 May at the care home in Netley Marsh, near Southampton, where she lived.

She was the youngest passenger onboard the Titanic when it sank and was saved along with her mother Georgetta, and two-year-old brother Bert.

Seafarers' hymn

Her father Bertram was among the 1,517 people who died in the north Atlantic, largely due to a lack of lifeboats.

Miss Dean remembered nothing of the fateful journey.

During the service, the seafarers' hymn Eternal Father, Strong to Save, or For Those In Peril On The Sea, as it is more commonly known, was sung.

The Jim Reeves song, Moonlight & Roses, was played at the end of the funeral, a spokeswoman for funeral directors Henry Powell & Son said.

Miss Dean's family had been travelling in third class to America, where they hoped to start a new life and open a tobacconist's shop in Kansas City.

However, after the disaster the family returned to Southampton, where Miss Dean went on to spend most of her life.

'Quite weird'

When the wreck of the ship was discovered in 1985 she found herself in demand on both sides of the Atlantic to give talks and attend Titanic conventions.

"I think sometimes they look on me as if I am the Titanic," she said after a visit to a Titanic convention in America.

"Honestly, some of them are quite weird about it."

She had recently begun selling some of her Titanic-related mementoes to raise money at auction.

She had been struggling with monthly bills of £3,000 at her care home and had been in danger of losing her room.

A canvas bag from her rescue was immediately returned to her after a man from London bought it for £1,500.

Actors Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, who appeared in the 1998 movie Titanic, were also believed to have contributed towards her care costs, along with the film's director James Cameron, by donating to the Millvina Fund which was set up by her friends.

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