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Plaque memorial for victims of Canvey flood
6:00am Friday 11th October 2013 in News
A MEMORIAL plaque will be installed at the final resting place of people who lost their lives in the great flood on Canvey.
During one of the country’s worst natural disasters on record, 58 islanders died when the North Sea came crashing inland in January 1953.
After the tragedy, 23 of those people were laid to rest at Jotman’s Cemetery, in Jotman’s Lane, Benfleet, however, nothing currently stands to eternalise the fact.
Now volunteers from the Canvey Community Archive, working alongside Canvey councillor Joan Liddiard, have been granted preliminary permission to put up a new plaque at the cemetery.
Edna Evans, 67, whose sister Judith Goodman was buried there after she died in the flood aged just four, has fully supported the idea.
She said: “I remember being woken by my parents when the water was coming in and my dad punching a hole through the corrugated roof of our house so we could climb out on top of it.
“We were on that roof for 13 hours in the cold, so it was quite a desperate situation, and my sister died from the exposure to the cold. I was devastated.
“When they rescued us, they even perched my dad and sister on the sea wall and I remember thinking they would get washed away.”
She added: “Up until Janet from the archive contacted me, I had no idea my sister was buried at Jotmans cemetery, because back then you didn’t talk about it – stiff upper lip and all that.
“I think it isawonderful idea to put a plaque there because I think a lot of people might have no idea they have family there.”
The plaque is expected to cost between £1,200 and £1,500. Now the community archive is appealing for kind-hearted residents to make donations to the cause.
Archive editor Janet Penn said: “I am very pleased it’smoving forward as this is what we have wanted for a while. Some families don’t even know they have relatives buried there.
“I think at the time the flood happened, there were too many other things to think about, so it got forgotten.
“If anyone does want to help donate money towards the plaque, it would be gratefully received.”
To donate, e-mail the archive at firstname.lastname@example.org
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