Success for Titanic plaque campaign

Peter Goldsmith with memorial plaque of RMS Titantic at Eastbourne Bandstand
Peter Goldsmith with memorial plaque of RMS Titantic at Eastbourne Bandstand

A CAMPAIGN to restore a plaque commemorating an Eastbourne-based musician who died aboard the Titanic has succeeded in raising enough cash to carry out the work.

Back in September the Herald helped local man Peter Goldsmith launch his fundraising drive after he became fed-up at the state of disrepair the current plaque, at the Eastbourne Bandstand.

It pays tribute to John Wesley Woodward, a cellist in the ship’s orchestra who was part of the outfit which famously played while the ship sank into the icy waters, claiming the lives of 1,517 people on April 15, 1912.

Mindful of the fast-approaching 100th anniversary of the disaster Mr Goldsmith set about raising the £1,200 needed to return the memorial to its former glory.

Last week he revealed he had hit his target after donations flooded in from generous Herald readers. In fact, not only did he net £1,200, but he also topped the revised estimate of £1,800 which was recalculated after it became obvious that surrounding granite also required attention.

A delighted Mr Goldsmith said, “It is great to have raised enough and it would not have been possible without the help of the people of Eastbourne.

“I am really grateful to everyone who gave some money or helped. Now I can’t wait to see it unveiled.”

That public unveiling will take place on April 15 – 100 years to the day since the Titanic went down.

Today Mr Goldsmith will officially hand over a cheque to representatives from Eastbourne Borough Council so the local authority can order the work.

The original plaque was actually commissioned by newspaper publisher Arthur Beckett, whose family used to own the Gazette and Herald series.

Among the biggest donations was a bumper £400 from a Titanic heritage group in the US and a significant amount from the Langham Hotel, which held a host of fundraisers.

In keeping with the Titanic theme, the hotel is holding a talk on survivor Philip Littlejohn on Wednesday, March 21.

For more details, contact the hotel directly on 731451.