Photos: Lantern release tribute to Great Yarmouth suspension bridge disaster victims

A sky lantern release took place on the 168th anniversary of the Great Yarmouth suspension bridge di

A sky lantern release took place on the 168th anniversary of the Great Yarmouth suspension bridge disaster on May 2. People gathered to remember the children who lost their lives in the 1845 tragedy. - Credit: Archant

Schoolchildren lit candles beside the River Bure exactly 168 years after a tragedy which claimed the lives of almost 80 youngsters.

A sky lantern release took place on the 168th anniversary of the Great Yarmouth suspension bridge di

A sky lantern release took place on the 168th anniversary of the Great Yarmouth suspension bridge disaster on May 2. People gathered to remember the children who lost their lives in the 1845 tragedy. - Credit: Archant

Great Yarmouth suspension bridge disaster unfolded after 300 children packed onto the bridge to catch a glimpse of a clown being pulled along the river by four geese.

A sky lantern release took place on the 168th anniversary of the Great Yarmouth suspension bridge di

A sky lantern release took place on the 168th anniversary of the Great Yarmouth suspension bridge disaster on May 2. People gathered to remember the children who lost their lives in the 1845 tragedy. - Credit: Archant

But their perfect day out turned into a scene from hell when the bridge's metal chains snapped, screaming youngsters were plunged into the river currents and heavy beams from the bridge collapsed and crushed them to death in a watery grave.

Grandmother Julie Staff is fundraising for a permanent memorial to the victims, and has been giving talks at local schools so they will never be forgotten.

She explained the 1845 tragedy to youngsters at Great Yarmouth Primary Academy, and they painted jam jars for a special tribute on the 168th anniversary of the disaster - last Thursday, May 2.


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Mrs Staff lined the river with the jam jars, containing candles, and lanterns were released near to the White Swan pub and the Suspension Bridge Tavern.

She said: 'It was a lovely evening and very emotional.'

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She hopes a permanent memorial can be put in place this summer.

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