Hatfield rail crash memorial remembers victims who lost their lives
PUBLISHED: 16:32 19 October 2020 | UPDATED: 10:13 20 October 2020
Survivors, friends and relatives have remembered the four people who lost their lives in the Hatfield Rail crash on its 20th anniversary.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, no more than 30 people attended the service at St Etheldreda’s Church on Saturday to remember those who died and the more than 70 injured when a Great North Eastern Railway (GNER) express train derailed.
Robert James Alcorn, 37, Steve Arthur, 46, Leslie Gray, 43, and Peter Monkhouse, 50, were remembered through the laying of wreaths.
Hatfield town council mayor Cllr Margaret Eames-Petersen said: “This year, 20 years later, it was good to welcome with the families, David Horne, the managing director of LNER (London North Eastern Railway) and Rev Angela Levitt-Harwood, railway chaplain from the Railway Mission, from Halifax, who took part in the service and read Colossians 3 v 12-17, about how to ‘put on love, in the most difficult of times’”
“David and Angela are aware of some staff and passengers who survived but were injured and their whole lives too were changed that day. Most of them live many miles from Hatfield, as this was the fast train from London to Leeds, which was derailed that day.
“This day is special day in Hatfield to ask God for his extra grace and healing, after such a tragedy, and to enable us in Hatfield to show compassion in small ways to those left behind.
“We remember and pray for the injured both mentally and physically and would welcome them next year. This year was more difficult for families to come during COVID restrictions , but Lord and Lady Salisbury kindly offered hospitality in the Stable Yard restaurant of Hatfield House next door, to all who came to the service held in St Etheldreda’s.
“The service, the warmth and welcome was much appreciated by the families who have written to say thank you to HTC, for how much this means to them.
“Thank you to goes Father Darren Collins and Rev Fiona Souter, Uni of Herts chaplain, and Rev Katherine Alford, curate, and the chorister Cheryl who sang so beautifully, making the service so special for the families.”
The accident remains a pivotal point in railway history, as it led to the private infrastructure company Railtrack going into administration and being replaced by Network Rail, along with the reform of health and safety up and down the UK.
MP for Welwyn Hatfield and transport secretary Grant Shapps also remembered the lives “sadly lost or forever changed” and added: “We must always strive to make a safer railway.”
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