Felixstowe: Thieves raid flood memorial for Mother’s Day floral gifts

FELIXSTOWE: Thieves have stolen flowers placed in memory of 41 people killed in the devastating east coast floods – and may have used them as Mother’s Day gifts.

Two tubs of colourful blooms were stolen from the 1953 floods memorial in Langer Road, Felixstowe, leaving those who look after the site angry and upset.

“I think it is absolutely dreadful – a disgusting and horrible thing to do,” said Ian Heeley, who looks after the memorial.

“There are people out there who will just steal anything and have no respect at all.

“I expect they saw them and thought they would make easy Mother’s Day gifts. Now there will be some mum out there with flowers in memory of our flood victims.

“I cannot understand thefts like this at all. It’s horrible. I am speechless.”

Mr Heeley placed the flowers in two 2ft 6in tubs a few days ago and had been checking regularly on them. They were still in place Saturday afternoon.

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“Most people respect the flowers we place there and respect what the memorial is all about and no one has ever before stolen flowers or vandalised it,” he said.

The memorial was put in place six years ago to mark one of the highest points of the flood of January 31, 1953, when a tidal surge swept up the Orwell and broke through the river banks, sweeping into the low-lying area of the resort.

The flood waters ripped prefab homes in Orford Road from their foundations, sweeping them off the site and down Langer Road.

People were stranded on roofs and upstairs in their homes. The port area was also inundated.

Whole families lost their lives as the sudden rush of water caught people by surprise.

The lack of an adequate warning system and the failure of many sea and river defences along the east coast were blamed for the disaster, which claimed more than 300 lives and is still Britain’s worst peacetime tragedy.

Artists Rosemary Humphries, Clare Curtis and Boris Cooper worked together to design and create a carved obelisk, mosaics – made with the help of children from Langer Primary School – and a small garden with seating, plus fencing to show how high the floodwaters reached.

The aim was to create an oasis where people could sit and reflect on the tragic night and remember those who lost their lives.

? Give us your thoughts on the thieves’ actions – write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich Ip4 1AN, or alternatively you can e-mail eveningstarletters@evening star.co.uk

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