HUNSTANTON: Vandal wrecks street sign honouring 1953 floods hero
A street sign bearing the name of a hero of the 1953 floods in Hunstanton has been vandalised days before the disaster’s 60th anniversary.
The town council has removed the Reis Leming Way sign for repair and hopes to have another in place for an unveiling by the former American serviceman’s widow, Kathy, on the actual anniversary date – January 31.
Town councillor and Hunstanton Civic Society member John Maiden said: “Someone has tried to break the sign by kicking it in the middle, but it was reinforced and we are hoping it will be salvageable.
“It was not just a casual kick – it was a deliberate attempt to ruin the sign. But we are not going to let the vandal totally spoil the occasion.
“Probably the fact that Reis Leming saved 27 lives in the 1953 floods here would not even have registered with this individual.
“What I think this highlights is the importance of getting the message across of the part that Reis Leming and his fellow members of the 6th Air Rescue Squadron played in the 1953 flood rescues in Hunstanton.”
Mr Leming was awarded the George Medal for his bravery in risking his own life to single-handedly save 27 people from the swirling waters in the resort that night..
Aged 22 at the time, a non-swimmer and wearing a rubber exposure suit, he waded up to his neck in water for four hours to rescue people in an inflatable dinghy before collapsing from exhaustion and cold.
Mr Leming’s actions will be mentioned in a talk about the floods at the civic society’s meeting at Hunstanton Town Hall on Wednesday, at 7.30pm.
Mr Maiden said vandals had also smashed up the bench in the Chapel Bank Road shelter, dedicated to the memory of Mercy Gray 1937, which forms part of the Hunstanton Heritage Trail.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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