The Worcestershire granddaughter of the woman who claimed to be the youngest survivor of the Titanic is having a special reunion and birthday gathering on the centenary date of the sinking of the giant luxury liner.

By a twist of fate, Beverly Farmer, a Kidderminster antiques dealer, will be 40 on April 15 – the 100th anniversary of the disaster which claimed 1,600 lives.

Beverley is sure she owes her life and existence to the ill-fated Titanic because her grandmother was conceived aboard the doomed liner.

Nineteen-year-old Kate Phillips of Worcester was eloping with Henry Morley, a Worcester and Malvern sweet shop owner, and escaped from the sinking ship in the last lifeboat. Henry went down with the liner but Kate was taken to New York and later returned to Worcester where she gave birth to a baby daughter exactly nine months after the tragedy.

Beverley Farmer will be combining her 40th birthday celebrations with another significant reunion with Deborah Allen of Norfolk, the great granddaughter of Henry Morley’s sister. Beverley is, of course, Henry’s great granddaughter.

In a recent Worcester News feature, I recalled the memorable day in 1989 when 76-year-old Ellen Mary Walker arrived at our office at Hylton Road to see me and asked to be shown for the first time in her life a photograph of her father.

She had seen details of the three Worcester men who went down with the Titanic in one of my Memory Lane weekly features in the paper. When I handed her a photo of her father she cried and revealed a remarkable and hugely poignant tale.

Her mother, Kate Florence Philips had eloped aboard the Titanic with Henry Samuel Morley. She was just 19 and had been a counter assistant at 40-year-old Henry’s confectionery shop in Foregate Street. Worcester. He was leaving behind a wife and 12-year-old daughter and was planning to start up a new life in California with Kate.

However, fate struck and he went down with the Titanic while Kate was bundled aboard the last lifeboat to leave the stricken liner, rescued by the SS Carpathia and taken to New York.

Mrs Walker told me she was convinced she had been conceived aboard the Titanic because Kate returned to Worcester where nine months later she gave birth to Ellen Mary at a house in Waterworks Road.

Among Ellen’s treasured possessions were three poignant reminders of the Titanic – the valuable sapphire, diamond and silver necklace her mother wore aboard the liner and the purse she carried, still with her cabin keys inside!

Beverley Farmer says her grandmother Ellen lived in Worcester and Pershore from the 1980s until her death in 2005 at the age of 92. Shortly after Ellen’s passing the BBC traced Deborah Allen and arranged for her and Beverley to meet aboard a liner docked in Belfast.

The BBC also had on temporary loan the valuable necklace Kate Phillips wore aboard the Titanic.

“It was desperately sad to find that my grandmother had sold the necklace and the other Titanic items to a Southampton dealer in the early 1990s for, I believe, £450,” says Beverley. “I think the necklace was later bought and is now owned by someone in Scandinavia and when I asked about buying it, I was told the price would be £20,000! However, it was really great to wear it in Belfast, even fleetingly.”

Beverley is the daughter of Ellen’s only child – son Robert (“Bob”) Farmer who spent many years in the RAF. Beverley moved to Kidderminster in 1993 and was then able to see “lots” of her grandmother before her death. Beverley’s antiques business is at Comberton Hill, opposite the Severn Valley Railway.

She will be celebrating her 40th birthday and her reunion with Deborah Allen at the St George’s Club in Kidderminster. “Deborah is lovely and we get on very well. I understand some other older descendants of the Morleys still live in Worcestershire but they don’t come forward or want any contact, no doubt in view of the original circumstances of Kate and Henry’s elopement.”

Beverly says a relative of her great grandmother Kate Phillips was the tragic victim of one of Worcester’s saddest wartime incidents.

Sixteen-year-old Beryl Smith of Worcester was sitting on railings in Bilford Road in 1940 when a Blenheim plane, either taking off or landing at the Perdiswell airfield, crashed into Bilford Road and killed Beryl. “I am told Beryl is buried in Worcester’s Astwood Cemetery but I have searched for my relative’s grave in vain – there are just so many,” says Beverley.