Bo’ness Band’s ferry trip led to act of heroism

When Bo’ness-based Forth Bridges Accordion Band caught a ferry to Belfast their thoughts strayed to the St Patrick’s gig they were set to play at.

Friday, 22nd March 2019, 10:21 am
Updated Friday, 22nd March 2019, 10:23 am

Yet there was a change in the mood music when some youngsters in the band witnessed a potentially horrific incident on the deck of their Belfast-bound Stena Line ferry.

And thanks to the quick thinking of a 17-year-old band member and his musical companions, a life was saved that day.

The hero of the hour was Declan Chirray, who went out for a cigarette with his gran Nancy Paterson – and the pair witnessed two women talking.

Declan said: “At first I thought the pair of them were kidding on but then we heard one of the women say ‘Please just let me do it’. At that point we realised she was ready to jump. My gran said ‘Grab her Declan’ and I did. I had to pull her arms down and yank her away from the rails.”

Meanwhile, four little girls, who were also with the band, ran to fetch help meaning crew were soon on the scene. The woman was then led to safety and given her own cabin for the rest of the journey before opting to return to Scotland with her travelling companions.

Gran Nancy (57), who held Declan’s back to secure him during the rescue effort, said: “This is really about the young ones.

“They are wee heroes. Declan doesn’t think he has done anything that anyone else wouldn’t do but that’s not true – and that lady could have died.”

A spokesperson for Stena Line said: “We would like to thank to the young passengers who helped to prevent a potentially critical situation developing.

“As a thank you Stena Line has refunded the cost of their trip along with providing them with complimentary sailings when they are due to travel again next year. To further thank them for their quick thinking and brave actions we have hailed them as Stena Line Superheroes and provided complimentary meals on their return journey. Senior Master Stephen Millar met with these young people and personally thanked them.”

Band founder Alan Potters said: “Their fast actions and thinking helped save a life. Declan, Keevay, Korri, Myryn and Hayley – we are so proud of you all.”