Flood-hit villagers showing the '˜blitz spirit' in Northamptonshire after waters destroyed homes

Villagers in Northamptonshire are counting the cost of water-logged homes today after a torrent of water ripped through their houses 'like a wave' on Wednesday.

Thursday, 10th March 2016, 5:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th March 2016, 5:16 pm
Yelvertoft High Street. Picture by Ian Wileman. NNL-160903-132339001 NNL-160903-132339001

People in Yelvertoft were left questioning the effectiveness of the village’s flood defences yesterday, as least half a dozen homes had begun clearing out downstairs floors, pulling out ruined carpets, rugs and ruined electricals.

After a night of heavy rainfall the Yelvertoft Brook burst its banks and streamed onto the high street at around 10am on Wednesday. A culvert and flood pool put in place after major flooding hit the village in 1998 could not contain the volume of water.

Yvonne Simpson and partner Martin Price only moved into their house in Swinnertons Lane in September.

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A man used a canoe to ferry people across Yelvertoft High Street

But on Wednesday morning their ground floor was left a metre deep in water.

Both their elderly parents, who live with them, had to be moved upstairs as the waters seeped in through the patio doors.

“We were just in disbelief,” said Mr Price. “We could see the waters creeping up, but we hoped it would just drain past.

“But then it came in the outer bit of the house. Even then we hoped it wouldn’t come into the main bit of the house.”

A man used a canoe to ferry people across Yelvertoft High Street

But it did, and the family will now have to move to rented accommodation for the next six months, while the damage is fixed. They had only just finished renovating the property.

However Mr Price was quick to praise the actions of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue who took school children to safety on an inflatale dinghy and assisted flood-hit residents.

A number of elderly people living in specialist housing also had to be taken to safety.

Pub landlord Rob Noakes gave the displaced elderly residents free meals at the Knightley Arms in the village.

“The flood waters were about 50 yards away from the front door here,” he said. “It is a good job we weren’t flooded as they would have had nowhere to go.

“It was a hectic day but the emergency services did a great job.”

Yesterday villagers were busy clearing up mud and strewn branches from the streets.

One passer by described a “blitz spirit” in Yelvertoft as neighbours clubbed together to help one another.

Meg Mayhew and her husband have lived on Crick Lane there for 48 years an said the floods were among the worst they had seen. They were “marooned,” she said, though she believes the waters came even higher in 1998.

A man, who got stranded in his 4x4 outside her house in the morning ended up staying until just after 5pm.

“He was a bit of an unexpected visitor, but he was really grateful. He had driven up from Dunstable and got stranded.

“When he came to the front door his trousers were soaked. I had to give him a pair of my husband’s.”

Describing the moment the flood barriers burst, she said: “We could see the water lapping over the top of the holding pool. As soon as that broke free the water just sot down here (Crick Lane) and the water level rose rapidly.”

John Jones was taking his father to a doctor’s appointment at around 10am when he saw water start to trickle onto the high street.

“When we came back the water was just everywhere, we couldn’t believe how fast the water came down here, it was just like a wave.”