May Richardson in her garden, summer 2017

May Is one of two survivors of the Dibbles Bridge disaster, the 1975 tragedy which claimed 32 lives of a coach party from Thornaby mainly senior citizens. Dibbles Bridge was the worst peace time loss of life in the town.

I am assembling a photo memorial to all 32 victims of the disaster for an exhibition and book planned for showing at Thornaby Town Hall. I am trying to contact relatives who might be able to loan photographs and help me compile a short biography on each person. Can anyone help?

Details courtesy of Derek Smith, Thornaby Project.

6 thoughts on “May Richardson in her garden, summer 2017

  1. The Dibbles bridge coach crash is the worst road accident, in terms of fatalities, in British history.
    On 27 May 1975 a coach run by Riley`s luxury coaches was carrying a group of pensioners from Thornaby-on-Tees on a trip to North Yorkshire. Between Greenhow and Hebden the coach had to travel down a steep decline to pass over a stone bridge which crossed the River Dibb. As they were descending the brakes on the coach failed and the driver was unable to negotiate a bend before the bridge, the coach crashed through the stone parapet of the bridge landing on it`s fibreglass roof in a garden on the banks of the river 17 feet below. 31 passengers and the driver were killed. I believe 25 of those killed were from Thornaby.
    A subsequent inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death. The coach company was later fined for using a vehicle with defective brakes.

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  2. I believe that my grandfathers sister, Lilian Barclay, was one of the people killed in this accident. I never met her but whilst researching my family history I was told this was how she had died. She was born Lilian Ena Dunnill in 1906 in Thornaby-on-Tees. Her mother and father were Richard and Clara Louisa Dunnill. She lived her early life at Georgina Street, Thornaby-on-Tees, before marrying a Sidney Barclay in 1932. Unfortunately I don`t know much about the rest of her life until her death in 1975.

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      • We do have a number of family photos, but unfortunately my grandfather & father have both passed away so I can`t make a positive identification. I don`t know if there are any other relatives or friends out there who can help.

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  3. My Mother, Doris Lowe was secretary of the Thornaby Bowls Club at the time. This was a trip organised by the club and fortunately she didn’t go on it. One of the hardest things she had ever had to do was being driven by the police to identify her friends in a West Yorkshire morgue. I believe that the bowls club, based at the Pavilion will be able to provide you with much more information.

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