Family remember teenager Paul Brookman who died in Marchioness Thames tragedy 25 years on

Paul Brookman, who died aged 19 years.

Paul Brookman, who died aged 19 years.

First published in News Sutton Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

The family of a teenager who died when the Marchioness sank on the Thames is gathering to remember him tomorrow - the 25th anniversary of the tragedy.

Paul Brookman was 19-years-old when he went to work on the Marchioness cruiser to help his friend who was the DJ on board.

In the early hours of August 20, 1989, the pleasure boat packed with 131 guests collided with the Bowbelle near to Southwark Bridge in London.

A total of 51 people died, including Mr Brookman, television presenter Jeff Brazier’s father Stephen Faldo, who was the skipper, and England rugby star Lawrence Dallaglio’s sister Francesca.

Mr Brookman was the youngest of four siblings and was living in Carisbrooke Road, Mitcham, where his mother Daphne Brookman still resides.

There was a series of investigations into what happened, including one by the Marine Accident Investigation Board in August 1991.

The Marchioness Action Group was set up in 1990, run by Margaret Lockwood, whose son Shaun died in the tragedy.

Campaigning by the group has led to 43 safety improvements on rivers across the country, including installing lifeboats on the river Thames from 2002.

However Mr Brookman’s elder sister Annette Davies, who was in her late twenties at the time of the tragedy in 1989, said the safety measures won’t bring their loved ones back.

Speaking about the night she found out her little brother had died, Mrs Davies said: "It was a very traumatic time for the family.

"He said he was going to a disco on a river boat but he didn’t say it was that night.

"The next day a taxi driver came round in the early hours of the morning and said he was meant to pick Paul up but he couldn’t get there because of an incident on the river."

Sutton Guardian:

Paul Brookman Dj'ing - one of his passions.

Mrs Davies said she began calling Paul’s friends to find out if they knew anything, to no avail.

They were told soon afterwards a body had been found on the lower decks which was believed to be Mr Brookman.

Mrs Davies said: "He could swim, it doesn’t make sense."

Mr Brookman was looking for work at the time of the tragedy and was a former pupil of Tamworth Manor School, now a Harris Academy in Wide Way, Mitcham.

"Everyone who knew him liked him, he was very popular and always helped out neighbours if they needed it," Mrs Davies, who lives in Ansell Grove, Carshalton, said.

"We never forget him, we don’t need an anniversary, we remember every day.

"He was a joker, full of mischief.

"He liked playing tricks on people.

"He was an ordinary person trying to earn a living," she said.

The family will gather at the London Road Cemetery in Mitcham to remember Mr Brookman privately.

A memorial service at Southwark Cathedral is due to take place tomorrow to honour the 51 victims.

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