Ill-health has forced Millvina Dean, the last living survivor of the infamous sinking of the liner Titanic to cancel a public appearance she was due to make on Friday.

The event at the Turner Sims Concert Hall, part of a series of Titanic commemorations being staged in the city this weekend, was sold-out but the 96-year-old has developed a chest infection, resulting in the loss of her voice.

Millvina, who lives at Woodlands, near Ashurst, said: "I am truly sorry that I won't be able to do the talk on Friday as I was so looking forward to it and I hope people won't be too disappointed.'' Now the sole survivor of the disaster that claimed the lives of more than 1,500 people, Millvina was just a baby when she, her mother and brother were saved in one of Titanic's lifeboats, after the White Star liner foundered during her maiden voyage from Southampton.

This weekend's events will mark the 96th anniversary of the loss of nTitanic and includes an open air service at Southampton's Holy Rood Church in the High Street at 12noon on Sunday.

People who have already bought tickets for the event at the Turner Sims Concert Hall, should contact the box office for a full refund. Call 023 8059 5151.