Tributes after flood disaster

FLOWERS have been placed at the memorial to 41 people who died in the 1953 floods disaster at Felixstowe to mark the anniversary of the tragedy.Charity fundraiser Ian Heeley and flood survivors Joe Little and Derek Swann stood in silent tribute in a short, poignant ceremony to remember those who died as the floodwaters swept through the low-lying part of the resort.

FLOWERS have been placed at the memorial to 41 people who died in the 1953 floods disaster at Felixstowe to mark the anniversary of the tragedy.

Charity fundraiser Ian Heeley and flood survivors Joe Little and Derek Swann stood in silent tribute in a short, poignant ceremony to remember those who died as the floodwaters swept through the low-lying part of the resort.

They laid the spray of flowers at the memorial in Langer Road, where the waters reached 6ftt 6in.

Later children from Langer Primary School, who provided mosaic artwork for the memorial at the edge of the school grounds, visited the memorial to mark the anniversary during their lunch break.

For the first time, the new plaque bearing the names of all the victims is in place on the memorial.

Mr Heeley, Mr Swann and Mr Little raised the money for the plaque with donations and sponsorship from businesses and survivors and their families.

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Mr Heeley, who has spent 43 years fundraising in Suffolk, said he was delighted with the plaque and had received many kind words from people who had wanted to see the names of the victims at the memorial.

“It felt like the memorial wasn't complete without the name plaque and so I'm really pleased it's finally been put up,” he said.

The plaque was dedicated at a reunion of flood survivors last weekend. Rev Canon David Lowe lit a single candle and led a two minutes silence to honour the victims. The song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow was played as the plaque was carried into the hall by members of the Felixstowe Army Cadets.

“I felt that song was very fitting to have playing as the plaque was bought in,” said Mr Heeley.

“With the plaque now in place after 54 years the victims of the flood can finally be laid to rest.”

The memorial garden provides an oasis of calm and peace where people can sit remember and reflect, and is tranquil but not morbid.

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, while the children's mosaics depicting scenes from the tragic night add a splash of colour.

What are your memories of the 1953 floods? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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