INSPIRATION can hit when you least expect it and that was certainly the case for mum of one, Gill Hoffs, who was inspired to write a book after a day out with her son.

The 34-year-old, from Latchford, took her six-year-old son, Angus, to visit the Warrington Museum and Art Gallery a few years ago and was inspired by the exhibition of artefacts from the Tayleur - a ship which ran aground on her maiden voyage on January 19, 1854.

Gill said: “I had never heard about the shipwreck until a curator at the museum told me about it.

“I was crying and I was a blubbering mess when I heard and I couldn’t stop thinking about it after I left.”

The psychology graduate from the University of Glasgow had never heard about the string of disasters, which blighted the sea 160 years ago.

This inspired her to put pen to paper in tribute to those who lost their lives.

“The reason I decided to write the book is because of the people and why they were going on the ship,” she said.

“Back then, there would have been three shipwrecks a day around Britain and Ireland and thousands of people lost their lives.

“It was an enormous risk but people did it and I wanted to find out why.”

The book, The Sinking of RMS Tayleur, also acts as a memory plaque, listing the names of those who lost their lives, but Gill knows there are still many missing.

“The vast majority of the hundreds lost in the wreck don’t have a gravestone. Their bodies were so mangled by the time they washed up that they were often headless and naked, with no way of identifying them, and were buried in mass graves.”

Gill, who took two years to write the book, is urging anyone with information to come forward.

An official launch will take place at Waterstones on Thursday, January 23, at 7pm.

The book is available from Waterstones and WHSmith in the Golden Square or can be purchased online by visiting