‘In hindsight, I am very lucky’ - Hemsby resident who lost home to the sea looks back a month after December storm surge
07:00 06 January 2014
Archant Norfolk © 2014
For Ray Mooney, the kindness of complete strangers after he lost his Hemsby seafront home has forced him to think twice.
“I keep to myself and, I know it’s probably not a good thing, but I tended to be quite cynical about people,” he said.
“But after what’s happened, I don’t know. Things have changed.”
Mr Mooney, 55, bought his bungalow on The Marrams seven years ago. He had recently refurbished and was in the process of selling the chalet when the storm hit on December 5, destroying five homes and bringing several others perilously close to the edge.
He was inside when he heard a crack – and watched as the washing machine fell through the floor. He believes a phone call from his brother saved his life as moments after he went to the other side of the room to answer it, the floor gave way.
“In hindsight, I am very lucky,” he said.
“I could have been in the sea.”
The day after the storm Mr Mooney was rehomed by Martin Mehmet, who runs the Happy Days chalets in Hemsby’s beach resort. He is still waiting for his insurance claim to be completed and is not sure if he will stay on the coast, but wherever he goes he will not forget the kindness of his neighbours or strangers who have donated items, left hampers of food and sent cards of goodwill. “I would like to say thank you to everyone who has helped me,” he said. Meanwhile, the volunteer run Save Hemsby Coastline group continues to raise money for DIY sea defences and lobby Government for more support.