Fred Dibnah's widow to appear in Titanic film

The Bolton News: Sheila Dibnah with cameraman Clive Turner at Southampton Docks Sheila Dibnah with cameraman Clive Turner at Southampton Docks

THE widow of national treasure Fred Dibnah features in a promotional film for The British Titanic Society’s new website.

Sheila Dibnah, who married the Bolton steeplejack, turned TV presenter in 1998, fronts the 10-minute film aimed at recruiting new members.

It was launched to an international audience at the society’s annual convention in Southampton which marked the 102nd anniversary of the sinking of Titanic.

RMS Titanic was built at Belfast’s Harland & Wolff Shipyard.

The promotional film was shot at Southampton docks last summer in bay 43 where the Titanic was launched on the April 12, 1912, for her doomed maiden voyage to New York. She sank three days later.

Professional public speaker and author Sheila, who was born in Bolton, said: “I was actually very nervous about my regional accent, but they must have worked some magic in the studio, because I sound like I have my best telephone voice on.

“What an absolute honour to be asked to do this in the memory of my late husband Fred, and link his name to a great legend.

“The Titanic always fascinated him, I’m sure he would have been delighted.”

Bolton-born Fred shot to fame in the late 1970s and fascinated BBC television audiences with his interest in steam engines and his knowledge of our industrial past.

At the height of his television career in the mid 1990s his programmes regularly attracted millions of viewers.

He died in November, 2004, from bladder cancer.

The Titanic disaster already has strong connections to Bolton.

Bolton-born Sir Arthur Rostron, the captain of the ship Carpathia, rescued more than 700 passengers and crew from the Atlantic after the Titanic went down.

Sir Arthur, a former Bolton School pupil, lived in Astley Bridge and became the only Bolton man ever to receive America’s highest award — the Congressional Medal of Honour — presented by President William Howard Taft in the White House.

But the tragedy ruined the reputation of Captain Stanley Lord, also from Bolton, who stood accused of his ship, the Californian, ignoring the Titanic’s distress calls.

It has been proved that any action by Captain Lord would not have changed the outcome, as the Californian would have arrived well after Titanic had sunk.

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