Bidding begins in American auction for Colne Titanic hero Wallace Hartley letter

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BIDDING has started in America for Titanic bandmaster Wallace Hartley’s last letter home.

The first bids went in at 9 a.m. US time yesterday to coincide with the time the Titanic would have docked at New York, if she had not hit the iceberg.

Award-winning actor Jack Marsden and Titanic in Lancashire Museum curator Nigel Hampson are anxiously following the bidding online.

“We’re going full steam ahead to get more money for our bid,” said Jack.

The actor, who played PC Brian York in “Heartbeat” and PC Danny Ryland in the BAFTA award-winning BBC series “Cops”, is in urgent talks with some of the biggest companies in the area to try to buy the letter.

The museum has already raised £4,500 to bid for it.

Wallace Hartley wrote the letter to his parents while on the doomed ship, using White Star Line Titanic letter-headed paper.

He posted it at the last port of call at Queenstown (now Cobh) near Cork, saying: “I shall probably arrive home on Sunday morning.” Tragically he never did.

Jack Marsden has become an ambassador for the museum and has pledged £2,000 as part of the mseum’s bid.

He also has ambitious plans for the future and said: “The Titanic in Lancashire Museum is ideally placed to establish an internationally recognised centre, running musical and educational programmes.

“I’m talking to large businesses across the region to ask for their support for a major Titanic project for Lancashire.

“Wallace Hartley is such an iconic figure in the real life Titanic story, playing with dignity and heroism as the liner sank off Newfoundland in 1912.”

Jack was in Colne for the Pendle Titanic Festival over the centenary weekend and was touched by how strongly the townspeople feel about Wallace.

Nigel Hampson, who is leading the bid for Colne, said: “Bidding will carry on for a week and finish on April 26th, so there’s still time for people top up our bid to give us a better chance to bring this historic letter back home.”

Anyone who’d like to help can get in touch with Nigel at the Titanic in Lancashire Museum on 861833 or email him at titanicinlancs@hotmail.co.uk