Remembering lives lost in Great Yarmouth suspension bridge disaster

Lorraine Harton, whose late husband was descendant of the Great Yarmouth suspension bridge builder R

Lorraine Harton, whose late husband was descendant of the Great Yarmouth suspension bridge builder Robert Cory, with Julie Staffs and Carole Maran, descendant of young girl who died in the disaster, met at the fundraiser this weekend. Picture: submitted. - Credit: Archant

A relative of a little girl who died in the Great Yarmouth suspension bridge disaster added her voice to the campaign for a permanent memorial this weekend.

This coin was made to celebrate the building of the suspension bridge, before it collapsed in 1845.

This coin was made to celebrate the building of the suspension bridge, before it collapsed in 1845. Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

Carole Maran's great great grandfather's sister, Sarah Gilbert, was one of the 79 people who died when the bridge over the River Bure collapsed on May 2, 1845.

This blue plaque is all that marks the site of the disaster which claimed the lives of 79 people, ma

This blue plaque is all that marks the site of the disaster which claimed the lives of 79 people, mainly children. Picture by James Bass. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2012

It was supposed to be a day of celebration with the circus in town; thousands of people had turned out to watch a clown sail past in a tub pulled by four geese.

An artist's drawing of the suspension bridge collapse.

An artist's drawing of the suspension bridge collapse. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press Archant

Mrs Maran, from Suffolk, was researching her family history when she learned of the horror that ensued and how Sarah, only 12 years old, died alongside so many other children that day.

'When I found out she died with so many others in one day, I realised there must have been a tragedy,' said Mrs Maran.


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'I came to Great Yarmouth looking for a monument, somewhere to lay flowers, but found nothing and that upset me quite a lot. There was no recognition.'

Mrs Maran, whose daughter is also called Sarah, was in Yarmouth yesterday (Saturday) to support the local campaign for a permanent memorial to those died in the bridge disaster and officially open a fundraiser at the Priory Centre.

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Resident Julie Staffs organised the fun day to help raise money. She needs £5,000 to put a memorial near the White Swan hotel, not far from the site of the bridge.

'It's important to me that the money comes from the people of Yarmouth through fundraising, not a grant,' said Mrs Staffs.

'We need about another £2,000. If we're struggling to get there, I might find myself doing a sponsosred skydive or something.'

Also present at yesterday's fun day was Lorraine Harton, whose late husband John Cory was the grandson of the suspension bridge builder Robert Cory, who came to show her support for the campaign.

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