Big response to flood plaque idea

MOVES to put up a brass plaque with the names of the 41 people who died in Felixstowe in the terrifying floods of 1953 have aroused interest from around the world.

MOVES to put up a brass plaque with the names of the 41 people who died in Felixstowe in the terrifying floods of 1953 have aroused interest from around the world.

After the story of the proposal appeared on the Evening Star's website, the organiser of the project, Ian Heeley, was contacted by people from as far away as America and Australia with memories of the harrowing and tragic night.

Mr Heeley, of King Street, Walton, said: “The response has been incredible and I have had so many people coming to me with their memories of being caught up in the floods.

“They have all backed the move to put up the plaque with the names on and say it would be a fitting addition to the memorial we have to those who died.

“It just shows how deep the floods are etched into the minds of people who live in Felixstowe and those who used to live in the town - it will always be important and we should remember with respect those who lost their lives on that night.”

The new plaque will be unveiled at a reunion before being added to the memorial in Langer Road in time for the anniversary of the tragedy at the end of the month.

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The reunion will be at 7pm on Saturday, January 27 at Trimley Sports and Social Club in Trimley St Martin. More than 120 tickets have already been sold for the evening and tickets are still on sale.

The plaque will be unveiled and dedicated by Rev Canon David Lowe, followed by a minute's silence for those who died and a further minute's silence for those flood veterans who have died since the last reunion.

The evening will also feature a buffet, music from the 1940s, 50s and 60s, and an auction, and there will be a chance for people to meet up and talk about their memories.

The town council has agreed the plaque can be added to the memorial. It will simply say “In memory of those who lost their lives in the 1953 floods in Felixstowe” and then list the 41, including 13 children and some whole families.

Tickets for the evening are £7 and are available from Felixstowe Memorial Fund, 21 King Street, Walton, Felixstowe, or 01394 275797. Cheques should be made payable to Ian Heeley.

The Memorial

The flood memorial garden stands at the end of Langer Primary School's playing fields and was unveiled on the anniversary of the tragedy on January 31 this year.

Co-ordinated by Felixstowe Town Council and supported by many people and organisations, the aim of the garden is to provide an oasis of calm and peace where people can sit remember and reflect.

Artists Clare Curtis and Rosemary Humphries designed the garden, while sculptor Boris Cooper carved the obelisk showing an adult carrying a child on their shoulders. Children from Langer Primary added a splash of colour with mosaics depicting scenes from the tragic night.

The theme is waves and water and the wall around it shows the height of the flood.

Those who died

Norman Bushnall, 30, and his wife Jean, 26, their son Keith, two, and daughter Brenda, six months, of Langer Road.

Jack Salmon, 37, his wife Stella, 37, and their son Robin, eight, of Orford Road.

Frederick Flather, 33, his wife Annie, 34, and their daughters Janet, seven, and Suzanne, four, of Langer Road.

Warrant Officer Raymond Pettitt, 28, who was home on weekend leave, his wife Sheila, 25, their son Brian, six, and daughter Gillian, two, of Orford Road.

Iris Sadd, 32, and her daughter Patricia, four, of Langer Road.

Lucy Bridge, 85, of Levington Road.

Julia Burkitt, 76, of St Edmunds Road.

Muriel Allery, 29, and her daughter Sally, four, of Orford Road.

Arthur Cobb, 58, of Tacon Road.

Thomas Collins, 79, of Nacton Road.

William Damant, 45, his wife Stella, 43, and their son Keith, eight, of Langer Road.

Annie Haselden, 84, of Russell Road.

Alfred Howell, 77, of Langer Road.

Margaret Johnson, five, of Orford Road.

Ronald Studd, 38, of Langer Road.

George Taylor, 84, and his wife Mary, 72, of St Edmunds Road.

Reginald Terry, 42, and his wife Gladys, 40, of Orford Road.

Joan Tong, 34, and her daughter Angela, six, of Langer Road.

Alison Watkins, three, of Langer Road.

Staff Sgt Jack Short, based at USAF Bentwaters, of Langer Road.

Sgt Cyril Tidswell, Landguard Fort.

Aircraftman David Sibbett

Vera Broom

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