Sunday, May 31, 2015

Lucy Ward Sings at the Centenary Centre in Peel

Malcolm Stitt
Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Lucy Ward, made her debut on the Isle of Man at the Centenary Centre in Peel in the intimate setting of the Atholl Room, courtesy of Jonno Promotions.

But it was Ramsey based guitarist Malcolm Stitt who kicked off the concert with a selection of tunes reflecting his own career, which included being a founder member of both Deaf Shepherd and the young Gaelic band Tannas. He has also appeared on numerous albums involving many bands, including Boys of the Lough and Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham, who were recently at the Centenary Centre.

Reflecting on his time with the Kate Rusby Band, Malcolm entertained the audience with a cross-section of self-penned music, including some from his musical collaboration with local harpist Erika Kelly.

Lucy Ward, meanwhile, comes from a different background which has its echoes in her choice of material, which incorporates both traditional and self-penned examples.

An award winning acoustic artist from Derby, Lucy plays guitar, ukulele and concertina, but considers her voice to be her first instrument.

She's a confident and exuberant performer, whose vibrant personality soon envelopes the room with passionate renditions of life in its many guises and colourful situations. Her emotional and expressive performance ensured she had everyone's attention.

Lucy Ward
Lucy was the winner of the Horizon Award (Best Newcomer) at the 2012 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and subsequently named by MOJO as 'Britfolk's most vibrant and forthright new young talent'. Establishing herself as one of the hottest performers on the UK folk scene, she attracted a capacity audience for her debut at the Cambridge Folk Festival and at the mighty Acoustic Stage at Glastonbury the following year. During 2014, Lucy was one of four nominees for BBC Folk Singer of the Year.

With a third CD in the offing as well as a number of collaborative albums under her belt, this was Lucy's penultimate gig as part of a UK tour.

Valerie Caine
© May 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015

Can Victorian Churches on the Isle of Man Survive the 21st Century?

St German's Cathedral -
internal alterations
With recent announcements that some of the Island's churches are under threat of closure, it was timely that the Isle of Man Victorian Society should invite Tom Ashley, Churches Conservation Adviser of the UK Victorian Society, to speak on this subject.

The topic attracted a large number of people concerned by the rapid escalation of closures, which has also affected the UK, bringing into focus the major issues which each denomination has had to face in recent years.

After introductions by Robert Stimpson and Peter Kelly of the Isle of Man Victorian Society, Tom Ashley gave his illustrated lecture, focusing on a selection of churches in the UK which have faced closure, internal re-organisation, transformation into residential accommodation or demolition.

Most of his work relates to Anglican buildings and where possible the UK Victorian Society has assisted with some of their needs, together with the Church Conservation Trust, but clearly it's an uphill battle as more of them become redundant to a community's needs.
Lezayre Parish Church - up for sale

With attendances falling, the need to save them is universally acknowledged, but the question is how this can be achieved to the satisfaction of everyone.  

The number of churches facing these issues is likely to increase, but how do we stop the decay which pushes up repair costs and ultimately closes the doors to parishioners and well-wishers alike?

In some areas the church building has become an important focal point for the community, but Tom Ashley believes that removing internal furnishings strips it of its interest, with modernisation sometimes pursued insensitively. He's also concerned with the fate of some of the architectural work, whose importance can be dismissed because their maker didn't become famous in their chosen profession.

He presented examples of churches which had made sensitive transitions, but equally many that didn't.

Occasionally items may be put into temporary storage, but never see the light of day.

St Patrick's Church - supported by
the Friends of Jurby Church
Change in this area is inevitable, but Tom Ashley questioned whether we are limiting flexibility if we don't change, and if flexibility is their best hope for the future? Pews and rood screens are particularly under threat at such times, along with original fonts, which may be destroyed as they cannot be used for any other purpose, and sometimes pulpits.

Audio equipment and modern day heating requirements also challenge the internal structure, along with the need for kitchens, toilets, offices and extensions.

Tom Ashley enquired of his audience whether they do want the Island's churches to survive, and if they did, he had a number of innovative suggestions as to how this could be achieved.

He thinks that we should at the very least listen to each other, co-operate and above all be reasonable, pushing for appropriate schemes and allowing for constructive criticism.

Glen Maye Chapel - complete internal
refit and a community building for the
Regardless of whether, or not, we participate in religion, Tom Ashley suggests that we see churches as belonging to everyone, perhaps contributing in small ways, and wherever possible return them to their community.

Despite this, however, he does have some sympathy with vicars hit by protests when change is mooted.

A question and answer session after the lecture included contributions from Speaker of the House of Keys Steve Rodan MHK and Robert Paterson, Bishop of Sodor and Mann.

Tom Ashley was thanked for his contribution by Peter Kelly before being presented with a copy of the book Churches of Mann.

The venue, St Mary's Church in Douglas, was provided by kind permission of Canon Gillespie.

Valerie Caine
© May 2015




Thursday, May 28, 2015

Tallis Concert CD - Live in Concert

The a cappella (unaccompanied) mixed-voice group Tallis Consort has recently released a new CD featuring 22 tracks of choral music, recorded in the superb acoustical setting of St Mary’s Church in Douglas, incorporating several ex-choral scholars and experienced musicians drawn from the Island’s abundant music scene.

Currently directed by Brian Head (former choral scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, and subsequently a professional singer and conductor), Tallis Consort was borne of a group of friends who sang this distinctive early music as a leisure pursuit, with their first recitals during the 1990s, before the group developed into a more expansive and formal contemporary ensemble.

With only a handful of opportunities (usually December and May) to hear the Tallis Consort live at selected events, this CD offers a miscellany of compositions and an array of challenges for the singers throughout the sound track, which was recorded live by Matt Brewster (who also acted as editor and producer) and John Kaneen.

Singing unaccompanied, in English, Russian and Latin, this is a powerful blend of voices which highlights the work of composers such as Orlando Gibbons, William Byrd, Thomas Tallis and William Walton, but is not averse to Nordic and Russian influence, or the inclusion of Victorian Carols; with a repertoire extending from the fifteenth century up to present day.

The CD is available at various outlets across the Island priced at £10, with all profits donated to the Choristers’ Fund at Peel Cathedral to help provide musical tuition.
Valerie Caine
© May 2015

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

World Manx Association Syllabus 2015

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Statue of Miner Unveiled in Laxey

A new statue, depicting a Laxey miner, was unveiled this weekend to honour those who worked in the village mines, in a ceremony
y which also celebrated the completion of Laxey's regeneration scheme.

The statue is the work of stone artist Ongky Wijana, who lives on the island of Bali with his Manx born wife, Hannah, and their two children, Lola and Marlow.

This magnificent piece of work was carved from Carlow Blue limestone, sourced from Southern Ireland, which was shipped to the Isle of Man before heading out to Bali, when problems arose with Ongky's work permit and visa.

Meanwhile, he prepared for the project by researching the lives of miners in Laxey, as well as those in the UK, so that he could get a feel for what life was really like for them and how their gruelling work affected their appearance.

Ongky remarked, "These guys were tough but often looked weather-beaten, sunken-cheeked and worn out. However, they also had a solidity to them and always a determination in their eyes that I wanted to capture. I also wanted to make sure their clothes and tools were as accurate as possible."

The work was funded by Laxey resident and benefactor Phillis Tate, who died in 2012 aged 97. A trustee of her estate, Ivor Hankinson, co-ordinated the project and said, "Mrs Tate took a great interest in the village and its heritage (a donation from her estate part funded the recently opened extension to the Laxey Working Men's Institute) so she was saddened when the wooden statue of a miner, which this one in stone is to replace, fell into disrepair and had to be removed in 2008."

It will sit on a granite plinth with four Welsh slate panels, also carved by Ongky, depicting the arduous conditions the miners endured, which, in combination, will stand four metres (13 feet) high. It's enclosed in Manx stone, the work of local stone masons Tony Bridson and Howard Kneale, and is set to become a symbol of Laxey's regeneration project, which includes the refurbishment of Laxey Tram Station, the adjacent Rose Gardens and the creation of a new village square that will connect the centre of the village to the Heritage Garden and a new coach park.

Ongky, who was also commissioned in 2010 to create another statue of a miner in Peel sandstone for the Working Men's Institute, commented, " When the enormous block of stone arrived it seemed like an impossible task was ahead of me. This was definitely the hardest stone I've ever carved, but I worked out the best way to deal with it as I went along and the shape soon started to emerge from the block. It was tough work and has taken in total about ten months, but I'm extremely proud of what I've been able to create."

Completed at the close of 2014, the statue arrived on the Isle of Man at the beginning of April.

A commemorative plaque, honouring the thirty five miners who lost their lives in the Laxey Mine 1831 - 1912, was also unveiled by the Lieutenant Governor, Mr Adam Wood, where he was joined by Anne Bennett, the great-grand daughter of Captain John Kewley who led the rescue efforts during the Snaefell Mine disaster in 1897, when thirty two miners lost their lives.

Seen as a community event, members of Ellan Vannin Pipes and Drums led the parade from the new village square, together with pupils of Laxey School dressed in costume from the mining era.

Valerie Caine
© May 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

Gift of portrait repeated a century on by WMA

Schools are to be given portraits of the Island’s national poet, T. E Brown – replicating a gift made to them a century ago.
Brown was born in Douglas in 1830, attended King William’s College and graduated from Christ Church, Oxford, then entered teaching, retiring as master of Clifton College, Bristol, in 1892 and returning to his native Island. He died five years later.
His most noted collection of poems was Fo’c’s’le Yarns, tales told from the forecastle of a ship by an old mariner, which contained his best-known work of all, Betsy Lee.
In May 1914, the Manx Society – now the Manx Language Society – gifted a portrait of Brown to every Island school to encourage pupils to read his works.
Exactly 100 years later, to mark Island of Culture 2014, a year of celebrations run by the Isle of Man Arts Council, Jo Callister, Advisory Teacher for the Manx Curriculum with the Department of Education and Children (DEC) challenged schools to unearth the portraits. 
Six schools – Michael, Arbory, Laxey, Willaston, Henry Bloom Noble and St Thomas’s – still had the portraits on display or were able to locate them.
The World Manx Association (WMA) found 18 original copies of the portrait in an attic and donated them to the DEC, which had more prints made.
The framed portraits are now being presented to schools along with other gifts relating to Brown.
The WMA is also gifting schools copies of ‘Treasure of the Island’s Heart’, a CD featuring Major Geoff Crellin reading Brown’s poems. Culture Vannin is donating copies of ‘T.E Brown – an Anthology’ by Dollin Kelly – a book aimed at young people. 
Schools will also receive a CD created by Emily Cook as part of Island of Culture 2014. Emily invited John Kennaugh and schoolchildren to read Brown’s work and the recordings are illustrated with moving images.
Courtesy of Manx National Heritage (MNH), the pack will also contain a copy of the article from the Isle of Man Examiner of May 9th 1914 detailing how Manx Society members visited schools to present the portraits. 
The article stated: ‘The rising generation should, as a result of the actions of the Manx Society this week, be encouraged to devote to the literary work of the Rev Thomas Edward Brown that attention and study which its intrinsic merit should in itself be sufficient to command.’
It lamented: ‘So far the poet has not reached the heart of the masses, as Burns, for example, appeals to Scots.’ It said ‘this probably ascribable in large measure’ to a lack of education about the poet’s genius.
Today, Tim Crookall MHK, Minister for Education and Children, joined Mary Corlett, chairman of the WMA, and Angie Weimar, a past chairman, who found the prints in her attic, to present the first of the gifts to Braddan Primary School.
The Minister said: ‘It’s important that pupils are aware of Brown, one of the greatest literary figures the Island has ever produced.
‘In the Manx Folk Awards, which we run each spring with Culture Vannin and MNH, we encourage children to read Manx dialect poetry including T. E Brown and this year included a new Manx poetry composition class. The Manx Music Festival also has dedicated classes on Brown’s work.
‘This gift to schools – 100 years after the first – is yet another legacy of Island of Culture 2014.’

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Praying the Keeills Week Celebrates Saints and their Keeills

Maughold Churchyard
One of the more unusual events on the Manx calendar is the annual Praying the Keeills Week, which incorporates visits to a number of ancient, holy sites across the Island with other events during the week.

Now in its tenth year, their chosen theme for 2015 is Saints and their Keeills, which begins and finishes with a challenging full day walk, taking in some of the Island's beautiful scenery.

The historical keeill (Manx Gaelic: church, kirk) is a Christian chapel built during the 8th - 12th century, some rarely larger than three metres by five metres internally.

Although the earliest examples were built of earth sods, others were more substantial, both in size and substance, being made of stone. It's thought there may have been approximately two hundred keeills throughout the Island, of which only about thirty five survive; albeit just their remains.
Lag ny Keeilley

Keeills served a number of functions, incorporating family chapels, wayside shrines, places of retreat and hermitage,  with a walled graveyard sometimes surrounding the building and a well nearby.

A selection of memorial crosses and other decorated stones discovered during excavations of the keeills are on display at some of the Island's parish churches.

Praying the Keeills Week has adopted the idea of prayer and meditation, which were important to those who historically worshipped at these sites; describing them as 'thin places' where they could draw closer to God.

Praying the Keeills Week is organised by a number of local churches and offers an opportunity to step aside from the busyness of life and perhaps rediscover lost ideals.

Lag ny Keeilley
Their first event will be a Service of Welcome at Glen Maye Chapel before heading towards the now deserted mining community of Glen Rushen, with other visits to keeill sites at Union Mills, Jurby, Scarlett to Balladoole in the south of the Island and Lonan in the east.

Other outings scheduled for the week include an illustrated talk about Manx Saints, a 'saints-themed' coach trip and an opportunity to visit both the old and new St German's Cathedral.

All are welcome at any of the scheduled events (see their website for details) although the coach trip will need to be booked in advance.

Valerie Caine

© May 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

Tallis Consort Bids Farewell to Musical Director at Spring Concert

Tallis Consort's recent spring concerts, held at St Paul's Church, Ramsey, and St Mary's Church in Douglas, were dedicated to the memory of former MHK Charles Cain, one of the founding members of the early music group and until recent times its Musical Director.

The first half included a selection of choral music from many composers living between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, including William Byrd, J. S. Bach and the group's eponymous inspiration Thomas Tallis.

After a short interval, their varied programme continued but with compositions interlinked with more modern choices from the nineteenth to the late twentieth centuries; including Edmund Rubbra, Ralph Vaughan Williams and contemporary British composer James MacMillan.

The evening concerts were designed to incorporate both a sacred and secular content, moving from the period of Lent and Easter to Madrigals and folk songs, using compositions from the Tudor period up to modern times.

These two concerts marked a series of changes for Tallis Consort, with the death of Charles Cain and the retirement of Brian Head as current Musical Director.

His successor will be Dr Peter Litman, the Director of Music at St German's Cathedral in Peel.

Canon Philip Gillespie of St Mary's Church in Douglas, who has generously supported Tallis Consort over a number of years, will also soon be leaving these shores to continue his ministry in Rome.

Gifts were presented to Brian and his wife by members of Tallis Consort and Canon Gillespie.

Collections from the concerts will be donated to the Nepalese Disaster Fund.

Valerie Caine
© May 2015

Friday, May 15, 2015

Nish as Rish Return from Successful Norwegian Tour

With groups on the Manx traditional music scene continuing to strengthen their ties with other countries, five-piece collective Nish as Rish has recently returned from a successful trip to Norway.

Nish as Rish was formed during 2009 whilst members of the group were busy studying at the University of York, including two musicians from the Isle of Man; Ruth Keggin (voice, flute and whistles) and Karl Kramer (mandolin, guitar and bodhran).

Both Manx and other Celtic traditional music and song form a large part of their repertoire, together with a selection of wider ranging personal compositions.

The group has performed in a variety of venues and festivals throughout the UK and Europe, winning the coveted Trophée Loic Raison at the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in 2011.

But in April Nish as Rish toured the picturesque Lofoten Islands for two weeks at the invitation of DKS (Den kulturelle skolesekken - the cultural schoolbag) to perform in concert for sixth form students across the archipelago.

Their tour was arranged as part of a national initiative by the Norwegian government, with a view to bringing professional musicians and visual artists into schools.

Nish as Rish also performed in a number of public concerts in conjunction with their educational tour, which were warmly received.

But initially a question mark hung over their first performance when Ruth's luggage (including warm clothing and her whistles) was lost on their journey to the Arctic Circle, and the neck of Vanessa's double bass snapped clean off in the hold of the airplane!

Fortunately SAS Airlines and a local instrument maker saved the day on both counts, with their first gig, in the port of Stamsund, earning them a standing ovation.

You can see photos of the group's Arctic adventures (as well as up and coming plans for recording and gigs) on their social media sites.

Twitter: @nishasrish
Facebook: Nish-As-Rish

Valerie Caine
© May 2015

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

WOSAT 2015 Brightens Up a Wet Bank Holiday Weekend!

WOSAT (Western Open Studio Art Trail) 2015 brightened up a wet bank holiday weekend, with its focus set firmly on the creative abilities of some of the many talented individuals who live and work the length and breadth of the Isle of Man.

Now in its fourth year, the affectionately named WOSAT lies solely in the west of the Island, capitalising on locations throughout the area, including some of the outlying villages and assorted venues in Peel.

Officially opened by the Minister for Education and Children and representative for Peel, Tim Crookall MHK, at the House of Manannan, visitors were able to wander at their leisure, sampling a host of artists with individual tastes and new ideas.

Private studios and exhibitions were opened to the public, and together with demonstrations and workshops, there was an opportunity to buy a selection of Manx work at a number of outlets associated with the festival, including a craft market at the Corrin Hall.

In a departure from its usual format, the long weekend included a night of music, song and dance in a marquee on the old swimming pool site at Marine Parade, and an evening with Hartes Ease.

Local early music group, Hartes Ease, performed a selection of music and song for a May evening, in a production entitled All In a Garden Green at the Corrin Hall in Peel, interspersed with verse from members of the Isle of Man Poetry Society and a guest appearance by talented local harpist Mera Royle.

Valerie Caine
© May 2015

Friday, May 8, 2015

Come and Celebrate the Island's Milling Heritage at Kentraugh Mill

National Mills Weekend is an annual festival organised to celebrate the UK's milling heritage, but there's also a great opportunity to experience the fascination of a working mill here on the Isle of Man.

Rarely open to the public, Kentraugh Mill is owned by Canon John Sheen and his wife Elizabeth, who inherited the building from her father, Mr R. M. Nuttall. The miller's house was bought by Mr Nuttall in 1965, but he was astonished to discover that the now derelict mill (which he thought was a garage) was part of the deal.

The three storey building was lovingly restored over the course of the next five years, as Mr Nuttall pieced together its fascinating history.

Powered by a now dilapidated waterwheel, Kentraugh Mill was owned by the Qualtrough family for many years, and is thought to have been in use since the early sixteenth century.

It's believed that the mill was largely rebuilt about 1832 (or earlier) when the current machinery was installed, replacing a largely wooden construction.

Kentraugh Mill left the hands of the Qualtrough family in 1904, when the building was sold to a nearby miller, John Woods of Ballabeg. The mill continued to function until 1943 when the door was locked for the final time, remaining untouched for over twenty years.

Visitors can avail themselves of the opportunity to join an extensive tour of the mill and see the machinery in action before heading across to the remains of the miller's store room; which was once the site of the first Primitive Methodist Chapel on the Island in 1825. It's now known as the Chapel Garden.

A weekend of unashamed nostalgia, the annual Open Days are co-ordinated by the Mills Section of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, who will once again be organising the successful Mills in Art Competition; with prizes on offer for both art and photography.

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings was founded by William Morris in 1877, followed by the Mills Section, designed specifically to protect and promote windmills and watermills in 1931. The National Mills Weekend was first organised in 1984, and is recognised as part of a European festival of milling heritage during the month of May.

Entrance to Kentraugh Mill is free, but donations are invited for the United Society - Anglicans in World Mission, whose Chief Executive, Janette O'Neill, will be on the Island that weekend. 

Visitors are reminded that they tour the mill at their own risk.

Kentraugh Mill (just up the road at the side of the Shore Hotel) will be open 10.00am - 5.00pm on the 9 May and 11.00am - 5.00pm on the 10 May.

Further enquiries to Elizabeth Sheen on 832406.

Valerie Caine
© May 2015

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Manx National Heritage launches new pin pass for visiting TT fans

Manx National Heritage has launched a new Isle of Man TT Races pin badge for visiting bike fans. The limited edition collectors badge, an official TT Races product, has been produced by Isle of Man based Motorsport Merchandise who manage many of the TT’s licenced products. 

The enamel badge, which costs £10, will allow visitors free admission to all the Manx National Heritage sites including the House of Manannan, Castle Rushen, Laxey Wheel and Peel Castle. It features the official TT logo as well as Manx National Heritage’s logo and the words Manx National Heritage in English and Manx, ‘Eiraght Ashoonagh Vannin’, around the circumference.

The pass can be used for the duration of both the TT Races, which runs from Saturday 30th May to Friday 12th June and the Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling, which includes the Classic TT, from Saturday 22nd August to Friday 4th September. It can be purchased online and will be available from selected Manx National Heritage retail outlets and the TT Grandstand.

This year’s TT themed activities from Manx National Heritage includes the ‘Ulster’s TT Heroes’ exhibition at the House of Manannan in Peel, celebrating Northern Ireland’s greatest TT riders. The Manx Museum in Douglas will be featuring a visual exhibition, entitled ‘Fast Women’, celebrating women in Manx Motorsport and will also have a number of TT items on display including John McGuinness’s TT winning Honda Superbike from 2009 to 2013 and Carl Fogarty’s Yamaha OW01 that he raced in the 1992 Senior TT. The museum will also be hosting talks by David Hailwood, Mike Hailwood’s son, who will provide commentary to footage of his father’s racing career.

Edmund Southworth, Director, Manx National Heritage, commented:
“The TT is inextricably linked to the Isle of Man’s heritage and culture and we have a number of TT themed events, activities and displays along with our comprehensive selection of sites and venues. We want our visitors to not only enjoy the spectacular racing on offer but also to go home with a greater understanding of the history and culture of the Island as a whole.”

He continued:
“We hope that this initiative gives people a taster of the broader appeal of the Island and, as well as making a contribution to its ongoing conservation, encourages them to return and enjoy everything that the Island has to offer outside of the established motorsport events.”

        ENDS –

For further information, please contact;
Simon Crellin, Heritage Communications Manager
(01624) 648032)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

100 Years on - The Lusitania Remembered

100 years ago today, 1200 people were murdered by the German Navy when a U-boat sank the RMS Lusitania, a civilian cruise liner just off southern Ireland. Today's Chicago Tribune ran the article above which mentions Henry Harrison, a Manxman in Chicago, who was headed back to the island to attend his parents' deathbeds. 

The quote below is from a post on the Facebook page, 'Manx Nostalgia.'

Peel fishing vessel the 'Wanderer' and its crew did something very special this day 100 years ago. It was the first rescue boat to reach the Lusitania, torpedoed off the Old Head of Kinsale by a U-boat on 7 May 1915.

The Manchester Manx Society had a special medal struck for each member of the crew - this was one awarded to Thomas Woods: 
Here's the start also of an article from the 'Peel City Guardian' of 15 May 1915.

You can read more about the Lusitania and the Manx people aboard by visiting Explore Newspapers:

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Montreal Manx!

We attended the Montreal Celtic Festival at the weekend and signed up four new members! We are very excited because the new NAMA members seemed very keen to launch a Montreal Manx Society.

In the photo we have our new member John Hislop, whose family hails from Port St. Mary, and NAMA members Kelly & Bill McCarthy (President and Secretary) and Katie Prendergast (2nd Vice President).

The event was a one-off and attended by Montreal groups of Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Cornish and Manx extraction.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Islanders Remember the Sinking of the Lusitania and its Manx Connections

In commemoration of the sinking of the Lusitania and its Manx links, a special Memorial Service was organised by Peel Commissioners during the May bank holiday weekend, together with a number of other events to reflect on the tragic episode which is historically linked to the Island.

In spite of the atrocious weather conditions, the clouds parted during the Memorial Service held at the RNLI station in Peel, where a number of local dignitaries gathered for the occasion, including His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor Adam Wood, Chief Minister Alan Bell MHK, Madam President Clare Christian, the Right Reverend Robert Paterson (the Bishop of Sodor and Mann), the Dean of St German's Cathedral, Nigel Godfrey, and representatives of Peel Commissioners.

They were joined by choristers from the cathedral, representatives of military organisations and the crew of the local lifeboat, to hear extracts of the original story and readings and take part in hymns and prayers. This included Eternal Father, Strong to Save written by William Whiting (traditionally associated with seafarers) and the Manx Fishermen's Evening Hymn by W. H. Gill.

The short service concluded with the Manx National Anthem.

Following this a number of invited guests, along with Jackie O'Halloran of the Lusitania Memorial Committee, boarded the local lifeboat together with members of the crew before heading out towards the back of Peel breakwater. They were joined by a small number of local vessels as the Lieutenant Governor and the Chief Minister cast wreaths on the water and thousands of biodegradable poppies were strewn in memory of those who died.

Later in the afternoon a free lecture delivered at the Centenary Centre by Tony Pass, (Chairman of Manx National Heritage) covering the stories of the Lusitania, the Manx fishing boat Wanderer, (whose crew played a vital role in the rescue), and the U-boat which torpedoed the Cunard liner, attracted a full house to the entertainment venue.

A number of passengers and crew sailing on the Lusitania, some of whom did not survive, were also from the Isle of Man.

In conclusion, a celebration of life, with music by The Shenanigans Banned and an evening meal, brought proceedings to a close at the marquee on the former swimming pool site on Marine Parade in Peel, the home port of the Wanderer.

Local brewers, Bushy's Brewery, prepared a special brew named the Wanderer for the occasion and funds after expenses were donated to the Peel based RNLI.

Valerie Caine
 © May 2015