The victims of the tragic Winter Hill air disaster were remembered today on the anniversary of the crash which claimed 35 lives.

The Winter Hill Disaster took place on February 27, 1958, when a Bristol 170 Wayfarer, which was ferrying passengers on a visit to Manchester from the Isle of Man, careered into Winter Hill in atrocious weather conditions

The tragedy claimed the lives of 35 representatives from the Manx motor trade, mechanics, engineers and motor traders, who were on their way to visit the Exide Battery factory in Greater Manchester. 

Only seven people survived the crash, including the three crew members.

The pilot was Captain Michael Cairns, the first officer was William Howarth and Jennifer Curtis was stewardess - her first flight since passing her training. 

The Bolton News: The crashed planeThe crashed plane

At 11am on the anniversary of the disaster, Horwich residents and members from local groups braved the bitter, foggy weather at the top Winter Hill in tribute to those who were in the crash and those who responded. 

Addressing the small crowd, Revd David Griffiths said: "On this day in 1958 - 66 years ago - it was a terrible and bleak day here on aptly named Winter Hill." 

On the same day, Rotarians from Douglas on the Isle of Man met to also remember those who were killed. 

Revd Griffiths added: "One of those involved was John Sanderson, a licensee of the Jolly Crofters, and a member of the Horwich Rotary Club.

"With Jack Speight, sub-postmaster, and John Shawcross, he drove up George's Lane to join a party of men from the quarry, to clear a way through the snowdrifts to enable rescue vehicles to get to the site. 

"The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel on Victoria Road became a mortuary. The people of Horwich still remember 9.45am on that terrible snowy and foggy day 66 years ago." 

Read more: Remembering the Winter Hill air disaster 60 years on 

Read more: Survivors relive Winter Hill crash horror

The Bolton News: L-R: Derek Cartwright of Horwich Heritage, Revd David Griffiths and Mayor of Horwich David GrantL-R: Derek Cartwright of Horwich Heritage, Revd David Griffiths and Mayor of Horwich David Grant (Image: Newsquest)

A moment of silence was held and the Revd said a prayer in remembrance. 

Mayor of Horwich, David Grant, also gave a speech.

He said: "On that fateful day in February 1958, a tragedy unfolded on the slopes of Winter Hill that would forever leave a mark on the town of Horwich and, indeed, the entire nation. 

"In the aftermath, Horwich showed its true spirit. The response of the emergency services, volunteers, and the community was nothing short of heroic. 

"People from all walks of life came together to offer aid, comfort, and support. It was a testament to the strength and compassion that lies at the core of this community. 

"As we reflect on this sombre anniversary, let us also remember the lessons learned from that day. The importance of community, the value of each moment, and the preciousness of life itself." 

The Bolton News: Misty Winter Hill mastMisty Winter Hill mast (Image: Newsquest)

Derek Cartwright of Horwich Heritage also spoke.

He reflected on how if the officer had gone the wrong way in the blizzard and not sounded the alarm, that the death toll could have been much worse. 

He added: "It is a chapter in the history of our town. My mum mused to tell stories of the helicopter hovering over our house. 

"Thanks go to the Rotary Club of Horwich and the Rotary Club on the Isle of Man, who have kept this tradition going." 

Speaking afterwards, Revd Griffiths reflected on marking the occasion atop the hill in the cold, adding: "You get a feel: how on earth did they manage? 

"The ambulance services, police, the people from the quarry, and so on, they managed to get here to rescue the people, who revived and to deal with the people who were killed."