PICTURE GALLERY: Relatives of Norwich survivors of Titanic gather for special anniversary event

One hundred years ago to the day their ancestors survived the sinking of the 'unsinkable' Titanic, descendents of Norwich couple Ted and Ethel Beane have been gathering in the city for an 100th anniversary event remembering the day the ill-fated liner fell to the bottom of the ocean.

They were among the hundreds of people to visit the Norfolk Titanic Association's special centenary event at The Forum today which paid tribute to the ship, its passengers and crew, and highlighted the links to Norfolk.

Mr and Mrs Beane, who came from the Dereham Road area of Norwich, had been honeymooning in second class on the Titanic's maiden voyage and were looking to start a new life in America.

They were among the lucky ones to survive the disaster that saw more than 1,500 people lose their lives - Mrs Beane was able to get to a lifeboat, and while Mr Beane, like many other men, was forced to jump overboard, he was later picked up by one of the small rowing boats.

Today's gathering, a century on from that fateful night, was the first time members of their respective families - the Beanes and the Clarkes - had come together since 1912 and many of them said it was the link to Titanic that put them in touch with each other.

About 20 of them attended the special exhibition, with many travelling from across the country to be there.

Sixty-nine-year-old Pat Gregory, from North Somerset and the niece of Mrs Beane, said: 'It was very important (to come to the anniversary event) because it was a major event in the life of the family, and it is good to commemorate what happened. We are always aware of it.'

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Eighty-one-year-old Edward Clarke, from Hellesdon and Mrs Beane's nephew, said he was a bit overwhelmed by the occasion and described the exhibition as marvellous.

Grant Turner, 50 and from Thorpe St Andrew, the great grandson of George Beane who is Ted Beane's brother.

He said: 'It is obviously a very sombre occasion but it is interesting how Titanic still remains in the public consciousness. It is such a powerful image, particularly because at the time there was so much talk of it being unsinkable.'

Patrick Thacker, 65, of Matlock, Derbyshire, found out his grandmother Laura Beane was Mr Beane's first cousin when his wife Rosy Thacker began researching the family history, and they too attended Saturday's exhibition which saw elements of the famous ship brought back to life with a recreation of the wireless room, memorabilia and models of Titanic on display, and people dressed as some of crew and passengers including Captain Smith and the 'Unsinkable Molly Brown.'

Author Yvonne Hume, 57 and from Boughton, near King's Lynn, was also there with her book RMS Titanic: The First Violin which is about her great uncle John Hume, Titanic's lead violinist who carried on playing until the ship sank.

'I just want to keep his memory alive. He was such a hero to play as the ship went down and he was only 21-years-old,' adding that she was joined at the event by Christopher Arnold, 17 and from Ormesby who contacted her after discovering that John Hume was his great, great, great uncle.

John Balls, who runs the Norfolk Titanic Association and is the author of Titanic - The Norfolk Survivors, said the association had felt it extremely important to mark the 100th anniversary with a poignant exhibition, and said there had been a great amount of interest from the public, with all of the 1,000 exhibition leaflets having been given out to people within the first two hours of the event.

• Are you involved in a project to mark a historic event? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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