A COMMUNITY is coming together to help commemorate the 60th anniversary of a flood which devastated Canvey.

Hundreds of islanders were evacuated from their homes when the full force of the North Sea came crashing inland over the sea wall one fateful night in January 1953.

Now survivors of the tragedy, which claimed 58 lives on Canvey, are being invited to mark the 60th anniversary at a range of events across the county.

A special church service will be held at the St Nicholas Church, in Long Road, Canvey on February 3 to remember those who lost their lives in the disaster.

Princess Anne will be making an appearance at a remembrance service in Chelmsford Cathedral on January 31.

Exhibitions of photos, letters, newspaper cuttings and memorabilia will also be displayed at the Bay Museum, in Western Esplanade and Castle Point Transport Museum in Point Road.

Paul Moss, events manager at the transport museum, said: “The flood is such an important part of Canvey’s history, so it will be nice for people to come together to share their memories and think of those that lost their lives.”

A new plaque commemorating the anniversary will be unveiled at Canvey Library in a ceremony on February 1.

Canvey Town Council is encouraging anyone wishing to attend the event to get in touch with them so that they can officially be invited to the dedication.

Peter Greig, chairman of Canvey Town Council, said: “This is an opportunity to remember, not only those who died, but also to acknowledge the survivors and thank those who were instrumental in the evacuation during the floods.”

Representatives from the Flood Museum in the Netherlands will also be visiting the island in February as they too were badly affected by the flood.

The storm, which is still one of the country’s worst natural disasters, claimed the lives of 307 people nationally.

In total, 30,000 people were evacuated from the East coast of England. It eventually took nine months to drain the floodwaters and repair seawalls.

New sea defences were installed in 1983 which now protect the island, which is classified Flood Risk Zone 3.