|Titanic Dive auctioned for Charity
In June the Le Meridien Grosvenor House Hotel, London was the setting for the Titanic Charity Event hosted by Jeremy Beadle MBE.
The Hotel’s Great Room was transformed into an elegant and magnificent ballroom of the kind seen in the opening scenes of the James Cameron’s film ‘Titanic’.
The star studded guest list included: June Whitfield, Nicholas Parsons, the late Carman Silavera, Rochelle Rose who portrayed the Countess of Rothes in James Cameron’s blockbuster Titanic, Philip Littlejohn, Pat Sharp, Vincent Ball, Sally Mean, Burt Kquark, and Jess Conrad to name but a few.
Gary Allsop and Aiden Feeney from Subsea Explorer who organised the event and donated the main Auction item ‘A Dive to Titanic’ introduced the event. A drinks reception was followed by a sumptuous five-course dinner which had been created from that enjoyed by first class passengers on the night Titanic set sail.First class entertainment was enjoyed during the evening culminating with a “Stars in Your Eyes” performance as Celine Dion by Tracy Shield.
Jeremy Beadle officiated at the charity auction, with the winning bid for the dive reaching £22,000, made by Paul McCutcheon,who although as Terry Wogan would say ‘he was a little worse for the drink’ and was not to sure what he had bid for or how much he had pledged, was pleased to honour his bid.
Paul’s bid was eventually topped up to £32,000 by Katherine Lang, a lady in her 70’s from London.
When it came to the journey to St Johns for the dive, Katherine preferring not to fly, traveled to New York aboard the QE2. During the journey across the Atlantic she had second thoughts about her dive and whilst a guest at the Captain’s cocktail party offered her place to Ron Warwick the then Captain of Queen Elizabeth 2, (now Commodore Queen Mary 2) who accepted with pleasure and went on to take his dive to the Titanic and officiate at the wedding of David Leibowitz & Bride Kimberley Miller on the wreck of the Titanic.
Wedding takes place on the wreck of The Titanic
It made headlines around the world, brought condemnation from British Titanic Society members and was criticised for its bad taste and lack of respect for the passengers and crew who lost their lives on that tragic night in 1912.
What could cause so much uproar, selling illegal artifacts on the black market ~ NO, damaging the wreck to retrieve artifacts not allowed by court agreements ~ NO, what then.
A Wedding simple as that, but no ordinary wedding oh no, a wedding that had the happy couple on their knees inside the submersible dressed in flame retardant suites, which landed on the bow of Titanic with Ron Warwick Captain of the QE2 officiating from the radio room of the Keldysh.
The wedding took place in July 2001, it generated publicity all over the world, which is exactly what it was designed to do, causing consternation from relatives of passengers and crew who perished on the 15th April 1912, Titanic Societies and
Steve Rigby, and Philip Littlejohn (the only relative of a survivor to dive to the wreck) from the British Titanic Society, onboard the Keldysh at the time, when interviewed by Canadian Television were quoted saying “this is in the worst possible taste”
Brian Ticehurst also British Titanic Society said “It’s an insult ... That this couple should spoil the site by getting married”
The couple David Leibowitz & Bride Kimberley Miller from New York interviewed on American television rejected the assertion that their marriage was “typically American and the “height of bad taste” Aiden Feeney ~ Subsea Explorer, sponsors of the event,
“We will make sure the ceremony is carried out as sensitively as possible”.
Publicity stunt or a wedding day with a difference, you make your own mind up.
Remember ~ Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but goodwill, but above all treat with respect at all times.
At the conclusion of the Marriage Ceremony, the couple returned to the surface,
They then dressed in more suitable outfits for the champagne party on board the Keldysh.
On their return to St Johns, a civil ceremony was conducted at City Hall, St. Johns by Mayor Wells, with a formal reception following.
First descendant of a Survivor Dives to Titanic
They say that events that take place during a car journey can change your life for ever.
One such journey up to London changed the life for Philip Littlejohn grandson of survivor Alexander Littlejohn. During a break in the music on Chris Tarrant’s Capital Radio show he happened to mention a very special prize had been donated for his annual charity auction in aid of ‘Help a London Child’.
The prize was a Dive to Titanic. Subsea Explorer who donated the dive were looking for a descendent of a survivor to join the expedition as the first to visit to Titanic.
Philip Littlejohn Grandson of 1st Class Steward Alexander Littlejohn who rowed Lifeboat 13, and Millvina Dean to safety, was invited by Subsea Explorer to join the 2001 expedition to the Titanic.
Alexander sailed on the maiden voyage of both RMS Olympic and RMS Titanic.
On the Titanic he was Steward to Mr W. T Stead, Alexander last saw him when he took him a large cup of coffee in the Reception Room, just after dinner Dr Washington Dodge, a first class passenger in boat 13, was later to remark, “The stewards that rowed our boat (13) could no more row than I could serve a dinner”.
Alexander died on the 18th September 1949.
As the first relative of someone who sailed on RMS Titanic to visit the wreck site
he said of his experience, “RMS Titanic should be treated with the greatest respect”.
The making of Ghosts of the Abyss 9/11
James Cameron’s team arrive at the Titanic wreck site aboard the Russian research vessel Akademic Keldysh, to start filming his latest drama/documentary Ghosts of the Abyss.
The special Digital 3-D IMAX ROVs required to capture the amazing scenes we see in the finished film did not exist. Jake & Elwood, as they were affectionately known, which would be needed to go deep inside Titanic, were designed and built by Mike Cameron, James's Brother, and a team of technicians and took 3 years to complete. They also had to build a giant overhead lighting system which would be called “Medusa”.
It would hover over the ocean floor bringing almost daylight two and a half miles down in the North Atlantic. Back on board the Keldysh after some ingenious moments with Jake & Elwood, James Cameron was told some very disturbing news by Bill Paxton.
The date was 9/11.
“I had left one world and returned to another that was completely changed. I was in a state of disbelief.”
After a brief period of reflection work resumed on Ghosts James Cameron had been at the scene of the worlds most famous disaster as a modern day disaster of catastrophic proportions was unfolding. It is interesting to note that the land until this day occupied by the twin towers had been owned by the Astor family.
It was surely a date to remember.
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