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Bus tribute to last Titanic survivor
8:01am Wednesday 10th April 2013 in Travel
THE memory of the last surviving Titanic survivor will live on in the form of a bus.
A Uni-Link double decker bus will be named after Millvina Dean in a ceremony in Southampton on Sunday.
At barely two months old, Miss Dean, who died in 2009 at the age of 97, was the youngest person on board the stricken cruise liner when it sank on April 15, 1912.
The event, which will be held at the Grand Harbour Hotel in West Quay Road, will be attended by her nephew Ron Dean and around 60 members of the British Titanic Society. They will join staff from Eastleigh-based bus operator Bluestar, which runs the Uni-Link service.
Mr Dean will unveil a commemorative plaque following a talk from Rudi Newman, honorary secretary of the British Titanic Society.
Miss Dean was honoured in June last year after a memorial garden was named in her memory at Southampton’s SeaCity Museum.
Following Sunday’s ceremony, the bus will take delegates to place a wreath at the garden. The bus will travel on to Dock Gate 4 to tour the SS Shieldhall and place another wreath in the sea from the departure berth of the Titanic.
Paul Coyne, operations manager from Bluestar, said the firm is delighted to provide a bus in Miss Dean’s name and will support the Titanic Society’s bid to preserve the memory of the fateful day in 1912.
Miss Dean, who survived the tragedy with her mother, was an icon of the doomed liner.
Before her death, it emerged she had to auction off personal belongings and memorabilia associated with the disaster to cover the cost of her care at a Hampshire nursing home.
Her plight attracted the attention of Hollywood stars Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet, who appeared in the Oscar winning film Titanic. The pair pledged “considerable donations” towards a fund to pay for her fees.
She also received a visit and a donation from television personality David Gest.
Rudi Newman, secretary of the British Titanic Society, said he was “honoured” to speak at the ceremony.
He said: “Millvina was invited by Uni-Link to unveil a bus in her honour but sadly she passed away.
“It’s a very nice gesture on behalf of the company to continue this tradition.”
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