Abbot's Seat memorial to Great Flood to be unveiled in Keynsham park
Relatives of those who lost their lives in the Great Flood of 1968 will be among the guests attending the unveiling of a permanent memorial to the events of 50 years ago in Keynsham.
The historic County Bridge stone, part of the bridge swept away as the flood waters reached Keynsham on July 10, 1968, is being re-sited in the Memorial Park, complete with a commemorative plaque.
The memorial will be unveiled by the chair of Bath and North East Somerset Council, Councillor Karen Walker, on July 10 at 2pm, in front of residents who experienced the floods, rescuers and people who have donated towards the project.
Keynsham and Saltford Local History Society, Keynsham Town Council and B&NES Council have worked together on the project, with the town council providing funding of £2,000 and a community grant to the history society of £1,000.
Dr Cheryl Scott, town clerk, said: “Fifty years ago, a number of people lost their lives owing to a serious flash flooding event in the Chew catchment area, including three people in Keynsham.
“The number of lives lost could have been more were it not for the bravery of the rescuers. Property was destroyed, lives and homes were disrupted and a huge clean-up effort ensued.
“This unveiling ceremony is one of a series of events being held within the catchment area to commemorate the 50th anniversary of this tragic natural disaster. The town council hopes that while enjoying the events, residents will also take a moment to respectfully reflect on the impact this tragic event had, and continues to have, on the lives of all those affected.”
Volunteers from the history society have been busy restoring the stone, also known as the Abbot’s Seat, and have also published a special commemorative booklet containing eye-witness accounts of the disaster and a selection of photos.
The booklet is on sale for £2.50, with all proceeds going towards the final £1,000 that needs to be raised to cover the cost of the memorial project.
Society chairman Richard Dyson said: “While everyone who lived in the area at the time will never forget that night, there are many who are either too young or have moved here since then. This booklet will give them an idea of what happened and the huge impact it had on the town.”
The booklet is available from the society on 0117 986 4453 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or from Keynsham Town Council’s offices at 15-17 Temple Street.