IT WAS a labour of love and now the impressive, 262ft mural commemorating the devastating floods of 1953 is complete.
The mural, revealed at a dedication ceremony earlier this summer, will be a permanent and poignant commemoration of January 31, 1953 when 59 people died and 13,000 were evacuated from their homes.
Ten artists took on a panel each spanning from the Dutch coming to Canvey to the building of the current seawall, from the late 1970s to the early 1980s.
Colin Letchford, chairman of Friends of Concord Beach said: “I’m just thrilled so many people have enjoyed looking at the mural.
“Even while it was being painted we had thousands of people down to see it. So may people didn’t know the story of Canvey and how it came into existence until they came down to see the mural.”
Artists joined together and chose out of a hat which part of Canvey’s history they would paint.
“I painted when the seawall gave way, the flood and an aerial view of the flooding,” explains artist Sharon Vane, 40, from Canvey.
“The second part was done from a photo taken at the time in black and white. It was fantastic, I feel so proud to be a part of such an amazing project.
A lady came up to me when I was painting and told me how she was in the floods and remembers her birthday cake floating away. It’s incredible the stories you hear.”
Cartoonist Justin Cook, 41, of Maurice Road, Canvey painted the aftermath of the flood. He said: “It was a different experience for me working in a new medium. I painted the aftermath of the flood and the devastation that followed. The next morning the water was apparently really calm.
“People were stranded on rooftops and people were out in rowboats going to rescue them. I painted Hadleigh Castle in there to give the sense of how low Canvey is.
“I’ve lived on Canvey all my life and some of the stories, it was the first time I had heard them about how the mad Dutchman rescued 40 people in his rowboat and how a policeman saved a baby floating in a cot."