Region falls silent for tsunami victims

SILENCE fell across the region yesterday as thousands of people remembered the victims of the Tsunami disaster in Asia.Mourners throughout Suffolk and Essex joined millions of others in the UK and Europe in observing the three-minute silence at noon.

SILENCE fell across the region yesterday as thousands of people remembered the victims of the Tsunami disaster in Asia.

Mourners throughout Suffolk and Essex joined millions of others in the UK and Europe in observing the three-minute silence at noon.

A maroon rocket was fired in Christchurch Park to mark the beginning and end of the period of remembrance in Ipswich, where hundreds of shoppers braved the freezing temperatures to pay their respects to those killed in the tragedy.

The tribute was observed by town mayor Roger Fern along with members of the borough council who gathered outside the steps of the Town Hall.


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Mr Fern said: "It has been very moving to see so many people and signifies solidarity with those that have had and continue to have a very difficult time.

"It was a terrible tragedy that happened, which has made a lot of people think over Christmas and the New Year and I would like to thank everyone that has made a point of coming to respect the silence.

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"Certainly at the council we are doing all we can to try and raise money for the victims of the disaster. We have organised for buckets to be available in the foyer of the civic centre and at various out stations so that people who are able to can contribute to the relief."

Elsewhere stillness fell over Bury St Edmunds as shoppers and traders hung their heads in remembrance of the thousands who died.

The emotive tribute was observed by town mayor Frank Warby, St Edmundsbury Borough Council chief executive Deborah Cadman, and town centre manager Nick Martin, along with members of the town and borough council, who all gathered in the market place.

Michael Hampel, Precentor at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, marked the end of the silence with a Russian Kontakion prayer for the departed.

"The silence represents the coming together of people not only across the country but across the world," said Revd Hampel.

Councillor Warby said: "It is lovely to see so many people gathered here as a mark of respect, and shows great solidarity in the town.

"It has been very emotional and brings to mind the true horror of the tragedy and the lives that have been lost."

Meanwhile in Felixstowe a ship sounded its siren at the busy port to mark the start of the three-minute silence and a small group of people gathered at the town's war memorial on the seafront to pay their respects to the dead.

At Woodbridge School a flag flew at half-mast and the tutor groups in the senior school were challenged to hold events to raise money to send to UNICEF.

Also shops in Woodbridge and Felixstowe displayed notices informing shoppers that they would keep to the silence and at Suffolk Coastal District Council's headquarters on Melton Hill a bell sounded to alert employees.

The development control's south sub committee meeting was halted while councillors, planning officers and the public remembered the victims of the disaster.

In Stowmarket the town council chose to lower the flag in the market place to half-mast at midday.

Stowmarket Rotary Club also sent a £2,500 cheque so that aid can be quickly dispatched to areas hit by the south Asian earthquake flood wave disaster.

At Halesworth shoppers stood side by side with workers during the silence, while at Southwold a special service was held at St Edmund's Church attended by about 100 people including town mayor Geraldine Bryant and other councillors.

Many shops and offices in the seaside town also closed their doors at noon with the beginning and end of the three-minute silence signalled by the sounding of the hooter from Adnams brewery.

In Essex people came to a standstill across the county as the remembrance was well observed.

Clacton residents gathered at the Town Hall steps for the silence, which was followed by short prayers by the Reverend Martin Flowerdew, the vicar of St Osyth Peter and Paul Church.

Speaking before the silence started he asked those gathered to think about the different people involved in the disaster from those who been injured, those who died and the people involved in the rescue operation.

After the silence he gave thanks for the "wonderful help from around the world" and the way in which governments have been pulling together to deal with the situation.

He also read a prayer that was written after major floods in Bangladesh and a prayer from charity group Christian Aid.

In Colchester High Street people came to a stop as council staff came out of the Town Hall and the silence was observed.

In Chelmsford the Mayor, councillor Ian Wright, lead the observance in the town's High Street.

Speaking afterwards he said people locally had raised £65,000, and demonstrated to the world that "we do care about the suffering".

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