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Annual Summerland memorial service to be held next Wednesday

An annual memorial service to remember those who lost their lives and have been impacted by the Summerland fire will be held next Wednesday, August 2, at 7pm.

Hosted by Douglas City Council, this year’s commemoration marks 50 years since the tragedy.

Joining Her Worship, the Mayor, Councillor Natalie Byron-Teare, JP, in laying a wreath at the Kaye Memorial Garden on Queen’s Promenade will be Lieutenant Governor Sir John Lorimer, Chief Minister Alfred Cannan, Chief Constable Russ Foster, Chief Fire Officer Mark Christian and a survivor of the fire, Ruth McQuillan-Wilson.

Mrs McQuillan-Wilson will be among those survivors and families of victims and survivors who will read out the names of the 50 individuals who perished in the tragedy.

Douglas councillor John Skinner, who was a fireman on duty on the night of August 2, 1973, will also say a few words.

The service will close with a lone piper playing Ellan Vannin.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the service at the memorial which was first placed in the Garden by the Council in 1998, to commemorate those who lost their lives, before being replaced with a more fitting monument a decade ago.

Anyone planning to attend is asked to be present by no later than 6.50pm.

Council leader Claire Wells said: ‘The Summerland fire continues to resonate for survivors and the relatives of those who died and it is important an annual tribute is held in their memory and for those who have forever been touched by the tragedy.

‘The response from the Island in the summer of 1973 encompassed so many aspects of the local community who assisted in various ways and forged a common bond. As a Council we are unified in our desire to properly mark this anniversary and hope members of the public will join us in paying a respectful tribute to those who died, survived or responded to the fire.’