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Summerland Fire 50th Anniversary

50th Anniversary of the Summerland Tragedy - 2 August 1973 - 2 August 2023

National Service of Remembrance for Summerland

Sunday 30 July 2023, 4pm, St George’s Church Douglas

A National Service of Remembrance was held to mark the 50th anniversary of the Summerland disaster, and presented the opportunity to pay tribute to those who died, survived or responded to the fire.

The full service is available to view on the Isle of Man Government Youtube channel or you can view it below:

A Book of Commemoration was created to mark the occasion, containing the names of the 50 people who died. Attendees were invited to view the book following the service and record their memories and tributes. It will be kept at St George's Church and placed on display as a legacy of the anniversary commemorations.

The event was attended by a number survivors and victims' relatives, who were joined by His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor Sir John Lorimer and Lady Lorimer, the Chief Minister, Government Ministers and Tynwald Members, and the Mayor of Douglas and Douglas Councillors.

The service was led by Venerable Irene Cowell, Archdeacon of Man, and included readings by Bishop of Sodor and Man Peter Eagles and Chief Minister Alfred Cannan MHK.

Following the presentation of the Book of Remembrance, the names of all 50 people who lost their lives were read aloud by survivors Ruth McQuillan-Wilson and Jackie Hallam, survivor's daughter Jolene Clarke, retired fireman and serving Douglas Councillor John Skinner, who attended the tragedy, and Reverend Bill Leishman from Broadway Baptist Church in Douglas.

Presentation to representatives of the emergency and health services by the Chief Minister

Monday 31 July 2023, 3pm

Islanders drawn into the Summerland tragedy on Thursday 2 August 1973 were formally recognised at a ceremony held at the Tynwald building in Douglas.

The event is available to view on the Isle of Man Government Youtube channel or you can view it below:

Presentations were made to the emergency and health services for their response to the fire and its aftermath, to mark the 50th anniversary of the disaster which claimed 50 lives and left 100 seriously injured.

Chief Minister Alfred Cannan MHK presented specially commissioned Scrolls of Recognition to the Isle of Man Constabulary, Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service, and representatives from Manx Care and the Isle of Man Ambulance Service in recognition of their response to the disaster and supporting those affected.

Retired firefighters who were present during the Summerland Fire

Image caption: Retired firefighters who were present at the Summerland fire and during the following days attended Monday's event. They are pictured with the Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service's Scroll of Recognition which is held by Godfrey Cain, who was on the second engine to reach the scene.

Online exhibition ‘ Summerland Remembered’

July 2023

Summerland Remembered, online exhibition from Culture Vannin. An oral history project collecting first-hand accounts from survivors, the bereaved, fire fighters, nurses, police officers, visitors, witnesses, employees and more.

Summerland remembered

A project recording the memories of people connected to the Summerland Fire 50 years ago launched on Monday 10 July.

'Summerland Remembered' consists of hours of audio recordings and collect the stories of 16 different people, all of whom have telling and important connections to the tragedy.

It represents the most extensive ever project to record the memories of the Summerland Fire, and is available now on the Culture Vannin website.

The rich and permanent resource includes conversations with survivors, the bereaved, firefighters, nurses, police officers, visitors, witnesses, entertainers, employees and more.

James Franklin, Online & Educational Resources Officer at Culture Vannin, conducted many of the interviews. He said:

'As a Manx person born after 1973, I had never previously been able to fully understand the Summerland Fire.

'Over the course of the past year and more, working on this project, I have been changed and greatly humbled by the stories which I have had the privilege of recording.

'I hope that making these interviews available online will bring more people like myself to a better understanding of the event and the effect it had, and continues to have, on the lives of so many.'

The recordings make for difficult listening in places, but people are encouraged to use the archive and listen to the interviews, which are of great cultural importance to the Isle of Man and its modern history.

50th anniversary events

Summerland Memorial Concert

Location: Villa Marina, Douglas

Date: Saturday 29 July

Time: 7:30pm to 11pm

National Service of Remembrance

Location: St George's Church, Douglas

Date: Sunday 30 July

Time: 4pm

Remembering for the Future Exhibition

Location: Promenade Methodist Church, Douglas

Date: Tuesday 1 August to  Thursday 3 August

Time: 10am to 4pm

50th Anniversary Service of Remembrance for the Summerland Fire Disaster

Location: Kaye Memorial Gardens, Douglas

Date: Wednesday 2 August

Time: 7pm

One Minute's Silence on the 50th Anniversary of the Summerland Fire

Location: Summerland site, Douglas

Date: Wednesday 2 August

Time: 7pm

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