Vernon’s Sandy Hatch (second from left) visits with cousins in Vernon recently to celebrate Veness Day

Vernon’s Sandy Hatch (second from left) visits with cousins in Vernon recently to celebrate Veness Day

Change of plans changes family’s history

Sandy Hatch and her family are here because her grandparents cancelled plans to sail on the Titanic

Sandy Hatch is grateful her grandparents had a change of plans.

The grandparents – James and Marie Veness – were scheduled to immigrate to Canada from England in 1912, and they were going to start their new life by travelling on the Titanic.

For reasons known only to the Venesses, they changed their minds and did not board the Titanic which, of course, sank off Newfoundland April 15, 1912.

James and Marie did come to Canada one year later, arriving safely in Halifax April 12, 1913, 100 years ago today.

They had five children, the youngest being Steve Veness, Sandy Hatch’s father.

“The fact for which our family is most grateful is that Grandma and Grandpa Veness changed their plans,” said Hatch, fighting back tears. “We are here today because both parties made a decision to not go on the Titanic.

“Someone has been watching over our family for a long time.”

Last year marked the 100th anniversary of Titanic’s sinking, but Hatch and her family – through e-mails and phone calls – decided to honour the family by creating Veness Day in November 2011. The event is to be marked annually on May 7, Steve Veness’ birthday.

Hatch could not attend the first Veness Day in England, and she and her Okanagan area cousins recently got together to celebrate the event on March 19.

However, Hatch has saved for her trip of a lifetime, jetting off this week to Israel, Holland, England and Scotland.

She will be in London to celebrate Veness Day with English relatives May 7.

“My roots are in London, England, so this is one important trip for me,” she said.

In preparing for her trip, Hatch said she has heard Titanic stories similar to hers.

“One lady told me her mother was a Titanic survivor, and another fellow told me his grandfather and great-grandfather were to have come on the Titanic, but the mother was not well so they changed their plans and came to Canada a few years later,” said Hatch, who is also a fan of the United Kingdom’s Royal Family.

“I’m going to visit the Queen and any other royalty I can find.”