Renewed appeal for Tay bridge memorial

Tay rail bridge disaster
Tay rail bridge disaster

ARENEWED appeal has been made to people in north east Fife to throw their support behind plans to erect a permanent memorial to the local victims of the Tay Bridge Rail Disaster.

The Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust aims to build two memorials to the victims, one larger one on the Dundee side of the Tay and another on the Fife side.

However, it needs to raise £50,000 to do so and hopes that local people will show their support and honour the victims, many of whom lived in north east Fife.

STORIES

The trust’s vice-chairman Ian Nimmo White said the appeal has already resulted in many people coming forward with stories of relatives killed when the train plunged into the icy waters amid a fierce storm on December 28, 1879.

Mr Nimmo White said he had recently heard from a descendant of Euphemia Cheape of Kilmany who was delighted that a memorial would be built to remember the victims.

Writing on behalf of her aunt Mima Cheape — great grand-daughter of Euphemia — Christina Cheape of Tayside, said her relative had been married to James Cheape, a shoemaker, and the couple had six children.

Described as, ‘a domestic servant in High Street, Lochee’, it is thought Euphemia Cheape boarded the ill-fated train at St Fort so she could meet a friend in Dundee.

Like the majority of the other victims — particularly the female train passengers who were clad in the large, fancy dresses of the day which would have weighed them down — Euphemia’s body was never found.

Mr Nimmo White said stories like Euphemia’s humanise the real tragedy of the disaster and the massive affect it had on the local area at the time.

He said: “ By providing a permanent memorial we hope to give the victims a long overdue identity.

“By telling the life stories of the victims as people who left behind wives, husbands and children, many people have been moved to make donations and we hope people across north east Fife will feel the same.”

Donations can be made online by visiting the website www.thetaymemorial.com or by sending a cheque made out to Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust to the treasurer of Trust, Iain Rae, 11 Wilmington Drive, Glenrothes, Fife, KY7 6US.