Essex

Canvey flood documentary claims school radio award

Canvey along with much of the east coast of England was badly hit by the floods
Image caption Canvey along with much of the east coast of England was badly hit by the floods

A documentary made by Essex school children about floods that devastated the east coast of England in 1953 has won a national radio award.

Pupils from Kents Hill Junior School in Benfleet, won the Feature and Documentary Programme category at the Sony Awards for Schools Radio.

The programme told the story of the disaster, which killed more than 300 people, including 95 in Essex.

Judges said the nine and 10-year-old pupils had "produced great radio".

The pupils spent a term making the hour-long documentary, which was broadcast on a Basildon community radio station.

It included interviews with the Canvey Community Archive, personal accounts and a look at current emergency planning to deal with any similar incident.

The floods swept along the North Sea coast in the early hours of 31 January 1953.

'Enthusiasm for research'

Of the casualties, 58 people on Canvey Island and 37 in Jaywick were killed and many more left homeless.

Michelle Durant, a parent volunteer who runs the school's radio club, said the children had put a lot of effort into the programme.

"The pupils learned something about the area they live, they learned script writing skills, about researching topics and asking people the right questions.

"They also gained a lot of confidence. Some go running after the microphone, but some shy away.

"This allowed them to get into it and they got the rewards."

The competition was run by the Schools Radio organisation, which promotes the use of radio in schools and judged by a panel of industry professionals.

Founder John Bradford, a former director of the Radio Academy which runs the annual Sony Awards, said judges had been "very impressed by the quality" of the documentary.

"They were pleased to see the enthusiasm for research and production and it was a clear use of using radio in the classroom."

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