A NEWLY formed choir have been chosen to perform at a landmark service honouring the Canvey floods.

Canvey Community Choir were only formed 18 months ago but are now rehearsing for their biggest show to date at the War Memorial Hall, based on the High Street.

Chairman George Whatley and his 46 members will perform a range of hymns and songs from every generation since the disaster hit the island in 1953.

Fifty-nine people on the island lost their lives after its flood defences gave way.

Mr Whatley said: “It’s an honour for the choir to be asked to participate. The service is really important to the people of Canvey. It will be attended by dignitaries and islanders both old and new.

“It is really important that we remember the people who lost their lives in the terrible floods. I know there are a few events going on to mark the 60th anniversary but this will be something really personal.”

The floods on the night of January 31 forced 13,000 people to flee the island and destroyed thousands of homes.

The evening of reflection and entertainment will take place 60 years to the day since the tragic events.

A commemorative plaque is also set to be unveiled outside Canvey Library, and a huge countywide remembrance service will take place at Chelmsford Cathedral.

The independently run Community Canvey Choir was formed after the government granted funding through its Sing Up Programme.

They are dedicated to raising money for local charities and making a different to the local area.

Mr Whatley added: “It has grown from nothing in 18 months. We have been lucky to perform at a lot of big events on Canvey and around the rest of Castle Point, but this is obviously a major show for us.

“We are getting new members all the time, and I expect that the choir will be even bigger by the time it comes to the end of January.

“There is obviously a lot to learn between now and then, so we are going to be working very hard.”

For more information visit www.canveycommunitychoir.co.uk