Brigstock residents evacuated by villagers amid 'worst flooding we have ever seen'

About a dozen residents from Harpers Court were rescued last night

By Stephanie Weaver
Thursday, 24th December 2020, 2:22 pm
Brigstock Parish Council chairman Sally Wilks outside Harpers Court today (Thursday)
Brigstock Parish Council chairman Sally Wilks outside Harpers Court today (Thursday)

A community rallied round to evacuate residents from their sheltered accommodation as the flood waters rose in Brigstock.

After heavy rainfall hit the county yesterday (Wednesday), members of Brigstock Parish Council were joined by villagers to launch a rescue operation for those worst affected by the flooding.

The village hall and the doctor's surgery were flooded, as well as Harpers Court, which is a sheltered accommodation scheme for the over-55s.

Pauline and Colin Johnson had to be evacuated from Harpers Court due to the flooding

Parish council chairman Sally Wilks told the Northants Telegraph: "The waters came up in the afternoon and first of all down at the village hall we tried to keep the water out but we realised it was a lost cause.

"In the meantime Harpers Court had been put on alert and then the waters started coming in there, which it has never done before.

"This is the worst flooding we have ever seen.

"We had to evacuate people from the ground floor and a lot of them went upstairs."

The aftermath of the flooding in Brigstock this morning (Thursday)

Sally says the water continued to rise until about midnight, during which time they tried to find accommodation for those without a bed for the night.

A village B&B and one of the pubs were among those who opened their doors up to those who had been evacuated, while others went to stay with family and friends.

Pauline Johnson, who was celebrating her 79th birthday yesterday, was one of the residents evacuated with her husband Colin, 82, but luckily it was just for one night and they are hoping to go and stay with their daughter today (Thursday).

Sally cannot praise the community enough for what they did last night, saying: "We have got a very good support network in the village, especially since Covid.

"Everybody was brilliant."

The clean-up effort has already started, with volunteers busy sweeping out water from the village hall this morning.

Damage includes the wooden floor being completely lifted by the water, which means it will be out of action for some months and it could be a five-figure sum to repair.

Sally said: "This is the worst flooding that anyone can remember.

"It is a bit daunting, but there's so many offers of help, which is brilliant, and I am sure that we will get through it.

"There's going to be some lasting scars in the village, the bridge collapsed, trees were lost, but thankfully no-one was hurt."

And looking on the bright side, she added: "At least it wasn't Christmas Day!"

A spokesman for the Longhurst Group, which runs Harpers Court, said: “Our thoughts are with the residents affected by this incident and we are doing all we can to provide them with the support they need.

“After being made aware of the situation, we dispatched a team of colleagues, including members of our care and support team, who have been at the scheme since this morning, as part of what has been a concerted community response.

“The welfare of our residents is always our foremost priority and we have been working hard to ensure everyone is afforded the support they need.

“We are now sourcing suitable alternative accommodation for those residents who require it, until such a time that they are able to return home, and we will continue to do all we can to support residents and their families during this difficult time.”

To see more pictures from the flooding in Brigstock, click here.