April 18 2014 Latest news:
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Festive spirit was brought to flood-hit Walcott after a community choir sang around the village which was ruined by the tidal surge earlier this month.
Members of the Norwich Community Choir also sang carols in the Poacher’s Pocket pub on Walcott Road, Bacton, today after singing outside the Kingfisher Fish Bar and houses which had been damaged by the sea water.
The choir, which has 100 members, collected £130 for the flood appeal from singing around Norwich just before Christmas.
Choir leader Meg Turpin, from Portersfield Road, Norwich, said: “As a community choir we want to help with community events.”
The idea to perform around Walcott came from Steve Kay, whose seafront bungalow in Walcott was damaged by the high tide on December 5.
A steel-reinforced concrete wall which ran along the edge of his garden was smashed into pieces and his oil tank was thrown across the garden by the force of the water.
Mr Kay’s partner Nicola Cubitt, from Dussindale in Norwich, is in the choir and the singers performed outside his home next to bits of wood and glass.
Choir member Rosemary Mortimer, from Costessey, said: “Anything we can do to help is good. When I saw the floods on the news it made me realise how fortunate I was. It was dreadful.”
Another singer, Jenny McPherson, from Norwich, said: “The damage is heartbreaking. People’s homes and businesses have been affected.”
Mr Kay, who is currently living in Norwich, said: “When I saw the devastation I thought something had to be done. Walls and belongings were strewn everywhere.”
During one performance a singer announced: “Never before in the history of choirs have so many songs been sung among so much rubbish.”
Julian Husselbee, owner of the Kingfisher Fish Bar, praised the choir for what it was doing.
“Anything that builds up a bit of Christmas spirit is good,” he said.
The businessman added about half the Walcott residents had left the village because of damage to their homes.
Caroline Stubbs, landlady of the Poacher’s Pocket, said: “Anything that brings the flood appeal to the public eye is a help. When the flood first happened the atmosphere was very low. It was Christmas without the Christmas spirit. People are trying to get on with things as best they can. The community spirit has been very good. Everybody has mucked in.”
The pub is raising cash for the appeal by selling tea and cake and it will make the Walcott and Bacton flood wardens its official charity next year.
On Friday, Pauline Porter, Walcott Community Resilience Co-ordinator, said Christmas had been quiet in Walcott as most people affected by flooding had gone to stay elsewhere.
The weekend before Christmas volunteers had manned the pavilion on Bacton playing field for people to go along and collect donated clothing, cutlery and furniture but there had been very little take-up.
Mrs Porter said: “I don’t think they will need stuff until they are back in their homes again.”
She and her husband have moved into a static caravan next to their flooded home and have had to throw most things in their bungalow away.
North Norfolk District Council had begun to repair the breaches in the seawall at Walcott although work had been suspended over Christmas.
Mrs Porter said the surge breached oil tanks which poured out their contents, and lifted manhole covers, allowing sewage to escape.
A woman in her 80s had to have her cat put down after it came into contact with 900 litres of oil which had escaped from a neighbour’s tank.