Jupiter Disaster: Survivors of cruise ship tragedy gather for 25th anniversary service in Hornchurch

Rev Barry Hobson led prayers for those who died in the Greek waters

Rev Barry Hobson led prayers for those who died in the Greek waters - Credit: Archant

On October 21, 1988, cruise ship Jupiter sank off the coast of Athens after colliding with an Italian freight ship. Among the passengers were 131 pupils and 24 teachers from Havering schools, who all survived. On Tuesday, a remembrance service was held in Hornchurch to mark the 25th anniversary and the Recorder was there to talk to the survivors about their experiences.

Rev Barry Hobson led prayers for those who died in the Greek waters

Rev Barry Hobson led prayers for those who died in the Greek waters - Credit: Archant

Survivors of a cruise ship disaster gathered for a 25th anniversary service in Hornchurch on Tuesday.

Rev Barry Hobson led prayers for those who died in the Greek waters

Rev Barry Hobson led prayers for those who died in the Greek waters - Credit: Archant

All 131 Havering school pupils and 24 teachers survived when the Jupiter sank off the coast of Athens on October 21, 1988, after colliding with a freight ship.

Of the near 600 passengers, there were four deaths, and some others ended up in hospital.

About 80 people attended the service that was held at St Andrew’s Church, High Street.


You may also want to watch:


They included passengers who at the time attended schools Albany, Chase Cross, Frances Bardsley, Gaynes, Sacred Heart and Sanders Draper.

Julia King, from Romford, organised the event in the hope of meeting fellow survivors.

Most Read

She said: “I don’t know everyone here because we were from different schools, but people have been so supportive of each other, it is a shared experience.

“Some people said that coming today will draw a line under it for them, but most have said they will stay in touch.”

The 45-minute service was held at the same venue as the original thanksgiving, which took place shortly after the passengers returned home.

Rev Barry Hobson began proceedings, before Julia lit candles in memory of teacher Bernard Butt and pupil Vivienne Barley, both from the Midlands, and the two Greek crew members who died.

Tears were shed at the service, which also featured a speech from Rev Sonia Groombridge.

Afterwards, old friends chatted and new acquaintances shared experiences.

Julia added: “I made a Facebook group for survivors to share memories because I thought I was the only one who remembered it, but there are more than 150 members now.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus