HUNSTANTON: Memorial Service to honour 1953 flood victims
The men, women and children who died in the worst peacetime disaster in Norfolk were remembered in two memorial services last week.
People who survived the 1953 floods gathered with family and friends in Lynn and Hunstanton to mark the 60th anniversary of the catastrophe.
A wall of water swept away homes along the West Norfolk coastline and smashed flood defences to overwhelm towns and villages on the night of Saturday, January 31.
More than 80 people, including complete families and children, were killed as the tidal surge hit West Norfolk.
Hundreds of people gathered in Hunstanton, which suffered the worst death toll of 31 people, on Thursday to take part in a procession and memorial service.
Guests of honour were the family of American airman Reis Leming, who saved 27 people in the town before collapsing with exhaustion.
His wife Kathy, son Michael and daughter Debra were driven down to the flood memorial in a 1941 staff car to see the Reis Leming Way.
The procession also included troops from Mr Leming’s squadron, 67 Special Operations, which is now based at RAF Mildenhall, along with the City of Norwich Pipe band and World War II amphibious landing craft.
During the service, a wreath was laid by the mayor, Elaine Clutton.
This was followed by a service at St Edmund’s Church which included John Smith reading the memories of fireman and town pharmacist Charles Matkin.
The names of the English and American residents who died were read by John Maiden and Lft Col Shelly Rodriguez.
Earlier in the day a Norfolk Green bus was named after Mr Leming.
Mr Maiden, who helped to organise the event, said: “It was a very fitting way to comemorate this.”
A memorial service in Lynn Minister was attended by more than 100 people, including air cadets, in the evening.
The event included stories from Lynn residents who lived thought the floods along with a sermon by Canon Chris Ivory.
The Bishop of Lynn, the Rt Rev Jonathan Meyrick, who also attended, said: “People who were there found it a very helpful and positive service.”
The wife of flood hero Reis Leming, Kathy, looks at the commemorative sign in Hunstanton with son Michael and daughter Debra. MLNF13AM01490
Survivors along with friends and family gather at the flood memorial in Hunstanton on Thursday. MLNF13AM01485
Troops from 67 Special Operations, the unit Reis Leming served in, attended the service. MLNF13AM01477
The City of Norwich pipe band head to the memorial in Hunstanton. MLNF13AM01481
A service is held in Lynn Minister to mark the 60th anniversary of the flood disaster. MLNF13PT01753
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Weather for King's Lynn
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 6 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North