60th Anniversary Memorial Unveiled for 1953 Flood Victims
A SPECIAL memorial was unveiled in Mablethorpe on January 31, 2013, to remember the 42 people who lost their lives in the Great Flood of 1953.
On January 31, 1953, at around 5.30pm, sea water breached the coastal defences, causing widespread devastation along the East Coast, with Mablethorpe and Sutton on Sea being two of the worst affected communities.
Former Mayor of Mablethorpe and Sutton on Sea, Helen Parkhurst, raised funds for a memorial as part of her civic engagements in 2010. Helen was joined by local people to unveil a six tonne, Norwegian Granite rock, with a commemorative plaque on January 31.
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Helen, explained: “The memorial rock, which is the same type as those used in sea defences, will provide a lasting memorial to those who lost their lives in 1953’s flood. I would like to thank all those people who have made this possible for the community, including Robert Howell, who provided and transported the rock to its resting place.”
The rock is located by the skate park, North Promenade, Mablethorpe.
Prior to the rock’s unveiling a memorial service took place at the former Dunes Theatre, now the Dunes Complex, on Mablethorpe seafront, organised and funded by Mablethorpe Town Council. The memorial service started at 2pm and local people were invited to attend. The memorial unveiling took place thereafter.
Mayor of Mablethorpe, Joyce Taylor, said: “January 31 was a chance for the community to reflect on what happened in 1953 and to commemorate those who so sadly lost their lives."
Leader of East Lindsey District Council, Councillor Doreen Stephenson, said: “I would like to praise the work of Helen on providing a lasting memorial to the community in Mablethorpe and also Mablethorpe Town Council in organising a memorial service. Although 60 years have passed it is important we remember that flood risk is still an issue we face and that we must ensure we’re all prepared should sea waters breach our defences again in such a way.”
As part of the commemoration, John Monk MBE who helps to run the Meridale Centre in Sutton on Sea, hosted an exhibition that focused on Mablethorpe and Sutton on Sea during and after the flood, with personal accounts and photographs. The exhibition took place from January 26 to January 28. A service conducted by the Revd Peter Liley to remember those who lost their lives and those affected took place on Sunday, January 27, immediately after the exhibition.
Since 1953, a lot has changed along the Lincolnshire Coast. Sea defences are now stronger than they’ve ever been and emergency services have a robust plan in place for dealing with future incidents of coast flooding.
The Lincolnshire Resilience Forum is continuing to remind people about the importance of being prepared for East Coast flooding and is reminding people that they should sign up to Floodline on 0845 988 1188 and complete their own personal flood plan at www.lincolnshireprepared.co.uk.