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Bear Grylls family to lay wreath in Larne at MV Princess Victoria memorial

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Patricia Ford, Lady Fisher, who succeeded her father as the first woman MP in Northern Ireland. 

Patricia Ford, Lady Fisher, who succeeded her father as the first woman MP in Northern Ireland. 

Patricia Ford, Lady Fisher, who succeeded her father as the first woman MP in Northern Ireland. 

The family of Bear Grylls and Northern Ireland's first woman MP are to lay a wreath at the MV Princess Victoria ferry disaster memorial service in Larne to remember a family member who died in the tragedy

Lady Sarah Grylls, mother to Bear, will be at the service on Chaine Memorial Road on January 31, 67 years after the tragedy.

Her daughter Lara Fawcett and grandson Bevan Fawcett will also be at the service to commemorate Sir Walter Smiles, a Westminster MP in 1945, who was one of 135 people who died in the 1953 disaster.

The family lived in Donaghadee until 1980 and said they were "honoured and privileged" to be invited to the service.

It also gives them the opportunity to remember Lady Grylls' mother Patricia Ford, Lady Fisher, who succeeded her father as an MP, becoming the first female Westminster representative in Northern Ireland.

"I was only 11 years of age when this tragedy happened but I can remember it as if it were yesterday. It is a great privilege for me and my daughter and grandson to be invited to Larne to lay a wreath to commemorate the tragic loss of so many lives 67 years ago," said Lady Sarah Grylls.

Lady Fisher was the founder of the Women Caring Trust which helped young people from disadvantaged areas in Northern Ireland, and died in 1995.

Her ashes were scatted at sea at the place where the wreck of the Princesss Victoria lies.

"This visit is an opportunity to remember my grandfather, who I adored, and also my mother who was a wonderful lady," said Lady Grylls.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Maureen Morrow, said: "I would like to take this opportunity to welcome some members of the Grylls family to the borough, albeit for a very poignant occasion.

"The Princess Victoria disaster affected people both in Larne and further afield. It was an incredibly difficult time for the area and generations later people are still affected from the tragedy.

"I am glad the Grylls family could come to Larne to share their memories of their grand-father and great-grandfather."

The memorial service will take place at 11am on Friday.

Belfast Telegraph