Medals for Kettering volunteers who sent sandbags to flooded south

Kettering Council gives medals to staff and others who helped fill sandbags to help flood victims down south
Kettering Council gives medals to staff and others who helped fill sandbags to help flood victims down south

Volunteers who helped distribute tens of thousands of sandbags to flooded areas in southern England have been presented with medals by Kettering Council.

About 75,000 sandbags – the equivalent of one for every adult in the borough – were filled and taken to Surrey and Hampshire during a four-day operation earlier this month by volunteers and council staff.

Representatives of the military and of local businesses who helped attended Wednesday night’s full Kettering Council meeting, where they were presented with medals by mayor Keli Watts.

They were also hailed with a standing ovation by borough councillors.

The council’s chief executive said the operation filled him with “considerable pride”, with volunteers providing an “outstanding example of teamwork and effort.

“At any one time there were between 80 and 100 people working,” he said. “It was a tremendous team effort.”

Persistent rain has led to widespread flooding in southern English counties, and Mr Cook said Kettering Council had originally been asked if they could provide 9,000 sandbags. A series of further requests increased that to almost 75,000.

“We did have messages come through from both Surrey and Hampshire saying how much they appreciated it,” Mr Cook added.

“The effort that the whole community went through to support people they have never met and will never meet says something about this place and about what sort of people they are.”

Addressing the meeting, Lt Col Andrew McCombe, the army’s joint regional liaison officer in the East Midlands, said: “I was particularly impressed with the teamwork. They had an excellent morale.”

The leaders of the Conservative and Labour groups on the council, Cllrs Russell Roberts and David Bishop, also expressed their thanks for the volunteers’ efforts.

While volunteers filled sandbags – using a makeshift filling station comprised of recycling boxes and traffic cones – they were provided with refreshments by a number of local businesses. The operation continued throughout the day and night for four days.