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Elderly Holbeach flood victims tell of their misery

Two of the victims of the Holbeach flooding last month have told of the misery it caused.

Audrey Forman and Marian Johnson were among the 24 South Holland District Council tenants evacuated from their homes in Lyndis Walk.

It was the second time in ten years that the sheltered housing complex had suffered from flooding. Mrs Forman and Mrs Johnson and many of their friends have nothing but praise for how the council handled the situation this time.

Audrey Forman (left) and Marian Johnson outside their homes in Lyndis Walk, with a skip full of waste and dumped property. (13581206)
Audrey Forman (left) and Marian Johnson outside their homes in Lyndis Walk, with a skip full of waste and dumped property. (13581206)

Everyone is now back in their homes – but for Mrs Johnson that only finally happened last Tuesday.

Tearfully recalling the devastation which followed huge amounts of rainfall for three consecutive days, the 82-year-old said: “It’s my home, it was terrible. I don’t think I’ve cried so much in my life.

“I got up at 6.15am and the water was halfway up cars’ wheels. I could see damp patches appearing on my dining room carpet. I called for a fire engine and the operator said ‘is there six inches?’. I said ‘it’s seeping into my house’.”

Marian Johnson back in the dining room where she first saw signs of flooding on June 11. (13581217)
Marian Johnson back in the dining room where she first saw signs of flooding on June 11. (13581217)

Neighbour Mrs Forman had seen the scenario unfolding when she was awoken by the deluge at 4am.

“I couldn’t sleep. I was just thinking ‘what are we going to do?’ she said.

At breakfast time she phoned Holbeach district councillor Francis Biggadike, who promised to get the local authority on to the situation as soon as possible. Very soon there were council officers and elected members on site, reassuring the residents and making provision for them to be accommodated elsewhere.

Mrs Forman is the only resident who has been at the complex since it was built 35 years ago. Fortunately she was back in her semi-detached bungalow in time to celebrate her 95th birthday.

Mrs Johnson’s home was one of the two worst-affected properties which needed new carpets and redecoration. Her furniture and goods were packed up and filled the living room, which had escaped damage.

However, there was no salvaging her first holiday in years. She was due to enjoy a coach break to Scotland with her partner Bob, who had arranged it as a surprise.

She stayed at his home for the three weeks, adding: “It was fine but it’s not like your own home. He hasn’t got a washing machine so my daughters and neighbours offered to do our clothes.

“Everyone was very good offering help. It was a really good community spirit.”

The joy of returning to her home after great work by local firms M&G Decorators and Jamie’s Carpets cheered Mrs Johnson up, further enhanced when she found that the council had done a very diligent job packing her treasured china.

“I just don’t want flooding to happen another time,” Mrs Johnson said. “It bothers me every time it rains and more so when we get a lot.

“We’re in our 80s and 90s – you don’t that upset.”

However, she joked: “When I phoned my son-in-law originally to say about the amount of water, I think he said to my daughter ‘your mother’s exaggerating again’. I don’t think he will again!”

Mrs Johnson, who was a landworker for Robin Proctor at Sutton St James, and Mrs Forman, who worked in Tinsley’s pre-pack and Taylors in Washway Road, say everyone is grateful to the many people who helped in any way.


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