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Doomed liner invite was turned down

Olga Smart, a 100-year-old (centre) surrounded by her family and friends. Olga's father declined an invitation to play cello on the Titanic and two years later she was born.

Olga Smart, a 100-year-old (centre) surrounded by her family and friends. Olga's father declined an invitation to play cello on the Titanic and two years later she was born.

If Olga Smart’s father had accepted an invitation to play in the orchestra on the maiden voyage of the Titanic, she wouldn’t have existed.

The twist of fate means Olga has just celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends and has two daughters, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Olga Elizabeth Leach was born in Edinburgh to Fred and Lily Leach where her father played cello at the Empire Theatre. The family then moved nack to Colne, Lancashire in 1918 and at the age of 14, Olga started work in a haberdashery shop in Burnley.

On a visit to Morecambe when she was 17, she met her husband-to-be Eddie Bright who was a well known goalkeeper with Morecambe Wednesday FC.

After their marriage in 1936, they went on to have two daughters Carol and Janice. Olga became a member of the Gippeswick Players and the Morecambe Little Theatre Group where she appeared in many productions.

Olga remarried after Eddie’s death and with her second husband Kenneth Smart, she developed a love for English Country Dancing and travel.

When she was 71, she flew for the first time, travelling through Russia and when she was 82, flew to Australia where she and Ken went down a copper mine in Mount Isa.

After Ken’s death in 2001, she went to live with her daughter Carol and son-in-law Bob in Heysham village where she became a popular figure in the Heysham Heritage Centre and was well known for her persuasive sales technique.

Olga was a regular worshipper at St Peter’s R.C.Church in Heysham.

On her 100th birthday, Olga, a resident at Mayfair Residential Home, received a birthday greetings card from the Queen and her family threw three parties for her, attended by family members.

None of this would have happened if her father Fred had accepted his friend, orchestra leader Wallace Hartley’s invitation to play on the maiden voyage of the Titanic.

 

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