Today is the 65th anniversary of the Winter Hill air crash that killed 35 motor traders from the Isle of Man who were on their way to visit the Exide Battery Factory in Manchester.

Horwich Town Council, Horwich Heritage and Horwich Rotary Club held a commemoration near the crash site at the Winter Hill TV mast at 11am on Monday.

Stuart Whittle, chairman of the Horwich Heritage Group, said: "Only three weeks before, the nation had been stunned by the news that 23 people, including eight of Manchester United’s ‘Busby Babes’, had been killed in the Munich air disaster. Here we had a greater loss of life, but without the same media coverage.

“Nevertheless, down the years the people of Horwich and the Isle of Man have made sure this terrible tragedy is not forgotten.”

The Silver City Airways plane had set off from the Isle of Man in fine conditions, but these worsened as it flew into Lancashire.

As it approached Winter Hill, dense fog and a navigational error cause the plane to crash into the hillside. Winter Hill was covered in deep snow, but the first officer somehow managed to reach the TV station and raise the alarm.

There then followed a frantic effort on the part of the rescuers to save those who had survived.

Stuart added: “The people of Horwich played a big part in saving the seven survivors and this was much appreciated by the relatives on the Isle of Man.

“Thereafter a strong bond was forged between the Rotary Clubs of Horwich and the Isle of Man which continues to this day.

“Every year commemorations are held and Isle of Man representatives have visited Horwich on a number of occasions, in particular on the 50th and 60th Anniversaries of the crash when they were held at the Horwich Heritage Centre.

“Horwich Heritage regularly puts on exhibitions about the crash and anyone wishing to view or purchase the film it has made about it should visit the centre on Longworth Road, Horwich, on any weekday between 2-4pm or 10am-12.30pm on Saturday morning.”