Service to mark emotional 50th anniversary of Seaham life boat disaster

Wreath-laying ceremony for the 50th anniversary of the Seaham Lifeboat Disaster. RNLI Lifeboats from Tynemouth, Sunderland and Hartlepool took part in the laying of wreaths just off the entrance to Seaham Harbour where the tragedy took place.
Wreath-laying ceremony for the 50th anniversary of the Seaham Lifeboat Disaster. RNLI Lifeboats from Tynemouth, Sunderland and Hartlepool took part in the laying of wreaths just off the entrance to Seaham Harbour where the tragedy took place.
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THE 50th anniversary of a tragedy which claimed the lives of nine people off Seaham has been marked with a moving ceremony.

All five crew members of the town’s lifeboat George Elmy died when it capsized on November 17, 1962.

The boat was just 30 yards from Seaham Harbour after rescuing four fishermen and a nine-year-old boy from a boat which had run into trouble.

The boy, David Burrell, and three of the fishermen also died. David’s father Donald was the only survivor.

Family and friends of those who died joined crews from three North East lifeboat stations to pay their respects on Saturday, with a wreath-laying at the site of the disaster.

Paul Nicholson, senior helmsman at Sunderland RNLI, said: “There was a big turnout and it was very emotional for everybody involved.

“There were about 20 family members there and about 25 RNLI volunteers from the three lifeboat stations at Seaham, Sunderland and Tynemouth. There were also a lot of members of the public watching from the shore.

“The wreath-laying was carried out more or less on the site of the actual accident, so it really was a very emotional moment for everybody. For both the families and the volunteers, it was really nice to see people coming together to remember the events of 50 years ago.”

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