Norfolk Titanic enthusiasts join in birthday celebrations

A Little Plumstead couple embarked on a pilgrimage to Northern Ireland last week as part of their passion for the most famous ship in modern history, the Titanic.

Robin and Sue Burrows are part of the Norfolk Titanic Association and travelled to Belfast to join in with the 100th birthday celebrations of the SS Nomadic, which was made especially for Titanic and other White Star Line ships to ferry passengers into port.

Nomadic was brought back to Belfast for restoration in 2006.

With its connection to Titanic and being the only surviving White Star ship from what once was the largest shipping fleet in the world, it is now regarded as being as important to preserve as such world-famous ships as the Cutty Sark and Mary Rose.

Mrs Burrows said: 'Nomadic started service in 1911 when it first tendered to Olympic, Titanic's sister. During the First World War it was used for troop carrying duties.

'Among its passengers over the years were Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, Marie Curie, Douglas Fairbanks and many more famous people.

'It finished service in 1968 after ferrying passengers to SS Queen Elizabeth I and for more than 20 years she was used as a restaurant and conference centre stationed opposite the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

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'In the late 1990s she was headed for the scrap yard but was salvaged by Northern Ireland's government and is now back in Belfast under restoration.

'It is now in the same dry dock as she was originally built and is to be mainly restored by Harland and Wolff, the original builders.'

The couple headed to Belfast with some ship artefacts they have collected over the years to donate to be displayed on board Nomadic.

They also took a 5ft working model of Nomadic which Mr Burrows built, but did not donate this as they had already donated a similar model and an 8ft model of Titanic, all of which are intended to be displayed aboard Nomadic on completion of her restoration.

The Nomadic model will be on display at the next Norfolk Titanic Association meeting on Friday, June 10, starting at 7pm in the Thorpe Adult Education Centre, on Longfields Road, Thorpe St Andrew.

They will have a special guest, Yvonne Hume, whose great uncle was first violinist on Titanic and who has had two Titanic books published – R.M.S. Titanic Dinner is Served and her new book R.M.S. Titanic The First Violin.

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