Resort looks to the future

FELIXSTOWE is looking to the future today after a weekend of events were held in memory of the 1953 flood victims.Around 350 people went to the service at St John's Church, Felixstowe to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the natural disaster where 40 people died.

FELIXSTOWE is looking to the future today after a weekend of events were held in memory of the 1953 flood victims.

Around 350 people went to the service at St John's Church, Felixstowe to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the natural disaster where 40 people died.

Rev David Lowe led the service in the Orwell Road church in a touching ceremony filled with memories of the past and hope for the future.

Survivors and relatives of those who perished in the flood shared their memories in the wind buffeted church yesterday. Ivy Upson, told of how she lost her parents on that dreadful night, while Glen Walsh spoke of the eerie silence and seeing a dead pig float by his home.


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Mr Walsh's voice broke with emotion as he said: "It was as if we were in the Blitz." But he praised Felixstowe's amazing community spirit which was borne out of the disaster, he said even his bank manager took his sister and mother in to his home until they found somewhere to live.

Edith Meears, who was a district nurse and midwife at the time, shared her memories. She said she lost a lot of people she had become friends with through her job, new mothers and children who became victims of the mass of water. She also praised those who helped during the aftermath which included the Salvation Army, the Women's Royal Voluntary Service and the RAF.

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Rev Rod Corke said he first learnt of the devastating floods in Felixstowe when he was reorganising St Mary's Church in Walton. He came across a vase which had the inscription: 'In memory of Margaret Johnson' and with it the date February 1, 1953.

"I had to decide – Do I restore and remember or do I bury and forget?"

He said he had been impressed with people's vivid memories of that night. "It's as if it happened yesterday, memories are so fresh, but these first-hand memories will not last forever, this weekend is important for future generations to understand. Today we are all history makers."

He then held up the vase in memory of five-year-old Margaret, who died in her mother's arms of exposure after falling in to the freezing water and climbing on top of her parent's pre-fabricated home.

A minute's silence was held before 40 candles were lit as each victim's name was read out.

Felixstowe Town Council and the town clerk Susan Robinson were thanked for their work in organising the weekend's events.

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