Flood appeal cash helps to bring a devastated community to life

Prime Minister David Cameron visits Wells Lifeboat Station after the floods. Pictured with crew members, left to right, Ray West, Chris Hardy, Allen Frary, Mark Frary, Tony Wailing-Darrell and Niery King.

Prime Minister David Cameron visits Wells Lifeboat Station after the floods. Pictured with crew members, left to right, Ray West, Chris Hardy, Allen Frary, Mark Frary, Tony Wailing-Darrell and Niery King. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2013

Reporter DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP spoke with some of the people who had been worst affected to see how they were recovering from the December floods.

It has been six months since the devastating floods hit Norfolk and Suffolk’s coastal communities.

Last year’s tidal surge hit the coast hard on the evening of December 5 and saw the spring tides and a storm trigger flooding that wrecked many houses and caused millions of pounds worth of damage.

In the immediate aftermath, the EDP Norfolk and Lowestoft Flood Appeal was launched with the help of Norfolk Community Foundation to administer the funds, and help local councils identify people in need of swift financial help.

Graham Tuttle, chief executive of Norfolk Community Foundation, said: “We’ve made about 254 grants, we’ve signed off £265,000 and we’ve had in over £330,000.

“I think the appeal has been absolutely integral because a lot of people did not have insurance and a lot of people who did have it, are having to pay a lot of excess. Having the fund meant people had one less thing to worry about and they also had a source of funding that they would not normally have had.

“It is a nice statement of the community and Norfolk working well together.”

Case study: John Florence

Retired plumber John Florence, 65, had to use his savings to refurbish his home, at St Helen’s Road, Walcott, after the floods destroyed the ground floor and he was given £1,300 from the flood appeal fund.

He spent about £900 on a new kitchen, washing machine and fridge freezer but had previously spent £12,000 refurbishing the house after moving in because it had suffered from the Walcott 2007 flood.

He said: “The cheque from the flood appeal was brilliant. I felt very humbled.

“It helped me out no end.”

Mr Florence, who has four children and seven grandchildren, said 2ft of water came into the ground floor of his two-storey home and ruined the kitchen and conservatory.

With the help of the appeal money he was able to replace electrical goods, carpets, repair the conservatory and redecorate after the walls had dried.

He added: “I always wanted to live here by the sea.

“I’m now back to normal and I’m just waiting to hear now from other grants I have applied for.”

He did not have insurance and is living back in his Walcott home.

Case study: Pat Pini

Pat Pini, 81, moved to Walcott from Happisburgh in 1984 and has lived at her wooden bungalow.

After the tidal surge destroyed her home Mrs Pini moved in with her son in Holman Road, Aylsham, and has remained there since December 5.

She said: “We knew the weather was going to be poorly but I only expected to stay with my son for one night. I had done it many times before but only ever had to stay the night.

“I was lucky before in 2007. Although water went all the way around my house it did not get into it at the time.”

Mrs Pini’s home was completely flooded out and she lost almost everything, including her carpet and furniture. She did manage to save her china but all her internal walls were damaged by the water.

She has received £1,000 from the EDP Norfolk and Lowestoft Flood Appeal and hoped it would go towards rebuilding fencing around the property - which is not covered by her insurance.

She said: “They are just about to start repairing my property this Monday and it should take eight weeks. Because it’s a wooden bungalow it’s had to dry out.

“I am a but nervous about returning home but you either live there or you don’t.

“Receiving the appeal money has been very important.”

The grandmother and great-grand-mother lived on her own in Walcott and was insured with Saga.

Case study: Graham and Dianne Butterfield

Dianne and Graham Butterfield have lived on St Helen’s Road, Walcott, since 2006.

The couple now live in temporary accommodation in Neville Road, Sutton, after the tidal surge damaged their three-bedroom bungalow.

They received £1,000 from the flood appeal which will be spent on outdoor fencing and a new garden shed, which was not covered by insurance.

Mrs Butterfield said: “We had been flooded in 2007 but it was not as bad. This time we were absolutely devastated.

“The appeal money has definitely helped us.”

They are currently waiting for planning permission to be approved to put a park home on the site.

The couple had building and contents insurance through Natwest but they were concerned they would not be covered again in the future.

• To donate transfer money online to THE EDP NORFOLK AND LOWESTOFT FLOOD APPEAL – Handelsbanken account number: 32314046 Sort code: 40-51-62 or drop a cheque made payable to the Norfolk Community Foundation, into their offices at St James Mill, Whitefriars, in Norwich, or via the EDP head office, at Prospect House, Norwich – or any branch office.

Click here to view our full interactive map of the events that unfolded

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