Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 24°C

min temp: 16°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Southwold: Emotional service pays tribute to Great Flood of 1953 victims

22:17 30 January 2013

Southwold Mayor Michael Ladd gives a reading during the service which commemorated the five people who died in Southwold during the Great Flood of 1953.

Southwold Mayor Michael Ladd gives a reading during the service which commemorated the five people who died in Southwold during the Great Flood of 1953.

Archant

SURVIVORS gave poignant and vivid stories in an emotional service to commemorate the five people who died in Southwold in the Great Flood of 1953 tonight.

shares

The 60th anniversary service, held at St Edmunds church, remembered the five residents in low-lying Ferry Road who lost their lives in one of the UK’s worst peacetime disasters.

Sixty years ago tomorrow, the Great Flood battered the east coast of England as high spring tides, deep atmospheric low pressure and exceptionally strong northerly gales led to sea water surging over coastal defences and sweeping two miles inland.

Around 100 members of the community attended to share their memories of that fateful night as survivors gave moving speeches and candles were lit in memory for each of the five people who died.

Southwold mayor Michael Ladd said: “It was a great service with poignant and emotional stories told.

“It is important to hold these events to look back on the history of the town. It was one of the biggest – if not the biggest – disasters that has hit Southwold.

“But it was a bit eerie because the winds were quite strong and you could hear the wind howling around the church.

“It was almost as if Mother Nature was telling us she was still a force to be reckoned with.”

During the evening, Southwold town councillor Susan Doy told how a weekly dance she attended unusually got moved from the upstairs of Southwold pier on the night of the Great Flood, potentially saving dozens of lives.

Matthew Horwood, aged just one and in hospital at London at the time, told how his family had to escape onto the roof of their house after it had been knocked back 400 yards.

His mum and dad were rescued by a passer-by in a boat – moments before their house sunk.

On behalf of Frank Upcraft, Professor Hugh Williamson told how Mr Upcraft’s father’s boat completely vanished into the sea – only for a piece of the boat to reappear 27 years later, washed up on the beach with his father’s name on.

Former St Felix student Penelope Bartlett also recounted how the windows rattled and waking up the next morning to discover water had reached the school’s grounds.

An estimated 46,000 farm animals also perished in the flood, many of them on the marshes around Southwold.

Simon Pitcher, team rector of Sole Bay ministry team who helped stage the event, said: “It was a great service that was well-attended.

“Survivors shared their memories of that night and thanked those who were brave and risked their lives by helping others that night.”

Meanwhile, the Princess Royal will attend a special service at Chelmsford Cathedral to mark the anniversary on Thursday.

Acts of remembrance are being held up and down the Suffolk Coast this week to commemorate the Great Flood of January 31, 1953 which claimed over 50 lives in Suffolk and 307 nationwide.

shares

0 comments

The existing A14 in Cambridgeshire which is prone to congestion.

Suffolk MPs Therese Coffey and Jo Churchill have taken the case to upgrade the county’s busiest road to the Transport Department.

Chilton Meadows Residential and Nursing Home.

A nursing home in a Suffolk village has been found to have breached the health and social care act following an inspection from the Care Quality Commission.

Ashley Leech

A convicted armed robber described as causing “significant risk of serious harm to the public” has been given an extended jail term.

Ipswich Crown Court

An Ipswich man’s car was allegedly attacked by two men wielding baseball bats while he was sitting in the driver’s seat near his home, a court has heard.

The former Ipswich Airport site from the air

Work on a £1m project to speed up traffic between the A14 and Warren Heath in Ipswich starts today.

Lemons Hill Bridge, Tattingstone

The death of a 22-year-old man at Alton Water has been described as an accident waiting to happen by villagers.

Pupils at Grange Community Primary School participate in their sports day

An Olympic-style games week has taken place at a Suffolk primary school with a combination of races and team games being held.

The Script Thetford High Lodge 2015-104

Chart-topping Dubliners The Script were back at Thetford last night to kick-start a weekend of big-name open-air concerts at the forest venue.

A former 4th July Celebration at RAF Feltwell.

A popular July 4 celebration organised by American airbases in west Suffolk has been cancelled due to “local threats”.

New Street, Woodbridge

An 82-year-old woman from Leiston who died following a crash in New Street, Woodbridge, has been named by police.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages