Flood memorial not forgotten

GOOD progress is being made to create an oasis of calm and peace in the heart of an area where 40 people died in the east coast floods of half a century ago.

GOOD progress is being made to create an oasis of calm and peace in the heart of an area where 40 people died in the east coast floods of half a century ago.

A garden and sculpture will form a memorial to those who died in the floods of 1953 at Felixstowe and provide a place where people can sit and reflect.

It had been hoped to have the memorial in place as part of this year's 50th anniversary of the tragedy – Britain's worst peacetime disaster – but everyone involved now accepts that this is now unrealistic.

Town clerk Susan Robinson said the project had involved a great deal of work but excellent progress was now being made.

She said: "It is coming together extremely well but we have no date as yet for when it might all be in place. There is no question of it having been forgotten and we are moving forward with as much momentum as possible."

The memorial will be placed on land at Langer Primary School in Langer Road – where the floodwaters rose to their highest point – and a lease for the site has now been agreed with the county council.

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Artists Clare Curtis and Rosemary Humphries, from Felixstowe, have now completed the design for the garden and drawings are being prepared for the quantity surveyor and a planning application.

Sculptor Boris Cooper has also been working on the design of an obelisk which will be the centre piece of the memorial.

Mrs Robinson said the quantity surveyor's work would identify the full cost of the project. So far around £10,000 has been raised – £5,000 from donations including £2,000 from county councillor David Rowe's locality budget, £1,000 from a former chairman of the county council, and money from the millennium exhibition and safety committee, plus £5,000 from the town council.

It is almost certain extra funding will be needed and sponsorship may be sought.

The names of the 40 who died in the town in the flood will not be marked on the memorial but kept in a handmade book of remembrance at the library.

The aim of the memorial is both to remember those who died but also the event itself, the terror it wrought and the lasting impact it had on those who survived.

The design of the garden features sea plants enclosed by a large wall shaped like waves with the height of the floodwater, over six feet, marked near its top.

There will also be seats and smaller walls and mosaic pictures designed by the children of Langer Primary.

The focal point will be a four-sided metre-high obelisk which will feature images to capture various events of the tragic night.

The artists say the aim is to create somewhere peaceful but not morbid.

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