Memorial service planned for West Norfolk victims of the 1953 floods

PUBLISHED: 13:30 14 January 2013

Scenes following the 1953 floods.

Scenes following the 1953 floods.


Hundreds of people are expected to attend a poignant memorial service being held 60 years to the day that floods ravaged the Norfolk coast.

More than 300 people were killed across the eastern region when hurricane force winds, low atmospheric pressure and high tides combined to create a storm surge on January 31, 1953.

Thousands of homes were destroyed within hours as the sea broke through coastal defences and flooded inland.

The service at King’s Lynn Minster, formerly St Maragret’s Church, will be led by the Rev Cannon Christopher Ivory and remember the 81 people killed in north-west Norfolk.

It is hoped residents, members of the Armed Forces, emergency services and voluntary groups will contribute their stories and personal memories of the floods to be included at the event. West Norfolk mayor Geoffrey Wareham will lead a full civic procession from the town hall to the church and a photographic exhibition with refreshments is planned after the service.

“The flood had an enormous impact on our communities and tragically claimed the lives of more than 80 people locally,” Mr Wareham said.

“It is both fitting and important that we remember people who lost their lives during that terrible night and celebrate the bravery of those who fought to save the lives of others and the resourcefulness of people in coping with the aftermath.”

It may be six decades since the floods hit without warning, but many people still have vivid memories of the events which unfolded.

Civics officer Paul Edwards, who is organising the service, said people had already come forward to share their experiences.

“There has been a fantastic response and we would also like to have a couple of speakers to share their stories on the night,” he said.

“It’s going to be a public service and we would encourage people to attend.”

The service will be held at the church, in Saturday Market Place, from 7pm on Thursday, January 31 and there is no need to book.

To share your stories, write to civics officer Paul Edwards at King’s Lynn Town Hall, Norfolk, PE30 5DG.

Contact Mr Edwards on 01553 762124 for further details.

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