Local Newspaper Week: Flood-hit communities fighting back with help from EDP Norfolk and Lowestoft Flood Appeal

Walcott, two months after the sea surge floods. Stuart and Janet Richards.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY Walcott, two months after the sea surge floods. Stuart and Janet Richards. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Sophie Wyllie sophie.wyllie@archant.co.uk
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
7:00 AM

Flood-hit communities in Norfolk and Suffolk are fighting back from the devastating December 5 tidal surge thanks to the generosity of EDP readers.

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What is Local Newspaper Week?

The theme of this year’s Local Newspaper Week is Making a Difference, which aims to show how local media can change people’s lives.

It is an annual event which highlights the important role newspapers play in communities across Britain.

The winner of the online vote for the Making a Difference campaign - featuring the EDP Norfolk and Lowestoft Flood Appeal - will be announced at the end of the week.

Hundreds of local and regional newspapers take part in the special week.

To mark the annual event papers in the past have included good news only editions, reader surgeries or taking on guest editors.

Part of that recovery has been helped by the EDP Norfolk and Lowestoft Flood Appeal, which has raised more than £330,000 for people in need following the disaster.

The appeal has been shortlisted by the Newspaper Society for a national award, along with 29 other newspaper campaigns which have benefited the community.

It comes at the start of Local Newspaper Week, which finishes on May 18.

This year the week will celebrate how publications have made a difference to communities and a public online vote will start today for the 30 media campaigns.

Floods. Walcott residents come together for a quiet moment.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYFloods. Walcott residents come together for a quiet moment. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Trixie Fenn, 83, received about £1,700 from the flood appeal after her Coast Road bungalow in Walcott was severely damaged.

She said: “I didn’t expect to get as much money from the appeal. I was very pleased.

“I think we have a lot to be thankful for in Walcott. It is a little place that nobody had heard of and it has been put in the limelight.

“The EDP has been useful in letting people know what is happening. It is very good to have that sort of neighbourhood-style paper. I cannot thank the EDP and appeal donors enough.”

The majority of her possessions were destroyed and the appeal money will go towards a new three-piece suite.

She is currently in temporary accommodation in Helena
Road, Walcott, but hopes to move back to her home next month.

Husband and wife Stuart and Janet Richards, 62 and 60, from Helena Road, Walcott, received £1,500 from the appeal.

The money will go towards new fences and gates for the bungalow, which they hope to move back into by the end of June.

Mr Richards, a retired prison service worker, said: “I’d like to say thanks to the people who contributed to the appeal. It was touching, especially when people were coming up to me and giving me money. We are really chuffed with the appeal money. We would have struggled without it.”

He added without the continuing EDP coverage of the flood clean-up, communities including Walcott would have been forgotten as the floods spread across the country.

On the night of the tidal surge there were 44 flood warnings in East Anglia, with forecasts of winds topping 60mph.

As darkness fell the sea smashed through and over concrete defences and shingle banks – flooding seaside homes, roads, and wildlife habitat marshes.

The flood appeal was launched on December 9 with a £1,000 donation.

By February 13 the £200,000 mark had been beaten with donations coming from individuals, large organisations, pantomime audiences and charitable trusts.

To vote for the flood appeal visit www.localnewspaperweek.co.uk/making-difference

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