A house with a giant woolly bobble hat appeared in Norwich to highlight the importance of keeping water pipes cosy in winter.

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The hat, perched on top of a four-metre flat-packed demonstration “home” arrived outside The Forum as part of a tour of cities throughout the colder months.

Festive shoppers were greeted with a free cup of hot chocolate, and offered advice on how to keep out the cold at home. The initiative is part of Anglian Water’s campaign to encourage householders to act in advance of the worst of the cold weather, to insulate pipes and save the cost of an expensive clean-up should pipes freeze and burst.

Paul Valleley, Anglian Water’s director of water services, said: “Following a year of the most unpredictable weather, being ready is definitely preferable to being caught out. We’ve gone from drought to flooding, both of which had a huge impact on us. It’s impossible to know what winter will throw at us after that. We think the best thing we can do is to be ready for whatever comes around the corner. We’re doing our bit, and we’re asking our customers to do the same.

“When you mention ‘wrapping’ at this time of year, people immediately think of Christmas presents or bad festive chart hits. But if you want to make sure this Christmas isn’t a damp one, you need to wrap your water pipes first, to prevent the bursts and leaks that sub-zero temperatures bring.”

The winter campaign is part of the company’s Drop 20 initiative to encourage people to save water.

More information on preparing for winter will be appearing at www.facebook.com/anglianwater.

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