Survivors ready to put disaster ‘behind them’

Worcester News: SHIPWRECKED: The cruise ship Costa Concordia lying on its side off the island of Giglio. SHIPWRECKED: The cruise ship Costa Concordia lying on its side off the island of Giglio.

A YEAR after the terrifying Concordia cruise ship disaster two survivors from Westmancote, near Pershore, say they are ready to move on by opening cards sent to them by well wishers.

Viv and Derek Ebbage, both aged 69, received cards from friends across the country after news of their ordeal spread but until now they have not felt able to read them.

Speaking a year and one day after the shipwreck, which killed 32 people, Mrs Ebbage said they wanted to put the whole thing behind them.

She said: “We are ready to move on from it now. All these cards came a year ago and we haven’t had a look at them. “We feel a year on we are ready. We are going to go and read the cards people sent, but we haven’t done that yet.

”We heard from people we had lost touch with as well. There have been lots of positives and silver linings.”

The disaster took place on January 13 last year when the cruise liner crashed into rocks just off the tiny Italian Island of Giglio, where the boat still remains.

On Sunday a service was held to commemorate those who lost their life in the smash but many survivors, including Mr and Mrs Ebbage, were not invited.

The service included an unveiling of a memorial to the victims, a minute’s silence and a mass in honour of those who lost their lives at a church on the island.

Since the smash Mrs Ebbage has been raising money by giving talks about her experience and she is now hoping to donate the cash to the charity that helped them afterwards.

“Misericordia, a disaster relief organisation, helped us by providing fleeces and blankets and comfort,” she said. “Even though they couldn’t speak English they were calming.”

Despite their ordeal the couple have already been on a two day cruise to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary.

Since the disaster both Mr and Mrs Ebbage decided to accept compensation of 11,000 euros (£9,000).

The captain of the ship, Francesco Schettino, aged 52, is due to face manslaughter charges this month.

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