TOMORROW will mark 50 years since the Munich air disaster when eight Manchester United players were killed.

One of the people on board the plane was stewardess Margaret Bellis, who helped to rescue survivors from the wreckage.

Miss Bellis, from Darlington, was working on the flight only by chance because she was one of the few company employees with the correct visa.

Eight members of the Manchester United team and 15 non-players died when the British European Airways flight crashed in snow at Munich airport at 3.04pm, on February 6, 1958.

Others would have died when the plane made a failed take-off attempt had it not been for the actions of Miss Bellis.

Her actions on that day only came to light on the 40th anniversary of the disaster.

Miss Bellis, then aged 37, inspired her colleagues with her bravery that day, with the planes captain moved to write to her, praising her actions and exemplary conduct.

After climbing over wreckage, she returned to the plane to help others escape unhurt.

The planes captain, Jim Thain, wrote to Miss Bellis, saying: Your courage was an inspiration to us all.

I can only say how proud I was and how fortunate I was in having you in the crew.

Miss Bellis died five months after the 40th anniversary, aged 77, in a Darlington nursing home.

On Saturday, Manchester United will hold a one-minute silence to remember the disaster and its victims before their game with Manchester City.

They included England internationals Duncan Edwards and Tommy Taylor.

The players will also wear shirts similar to those worn 50 years ago C free from advertising and squad numbers.

ñ Are you a member of Miss Bellis family who have memories to share? Contact The Northern Echo newsroom on 01325-505069.