Months of clear-up underway for Kettering victims of Christmas Eve floods

Homes in Stratfield Way on Kettering's Venture Park were devasted by floods that struck on December 24

Tuesday, 29th December 2020, 5:35 pm

Dozens of families in Kettering are counting the cost of devastating floods that swept through their homes on Christmas Eve morning leaving a trail of destruction.

People living in Stratfield Way had minutes to rescue prized possessions and Christmas presents before their ground floors were swamped by the deluge of dirty water from the nearby Slade Brook.

Northants Search and Rescue volunteers evacuated residents using inflatable boats to transport people and pets to safety as the water rose, engulfing around 25 homes and nearby businesses.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

People on early work shifts had left the quiet cul-de-sac at 5am with no sign of floods. By 7am water had risen to cover drives - with cars moved to safety. By 7.30am the first houses had been breached. At 9.12am people living on Stratfield Way received automated flood warnings from the Environment Agency.

Karen Ingram, 58, and partner Andrew Hill, 66, were at home. They had been watching television upstairs in bed when the electricity went off.

He said: "At 7.30am on Christmas Eve, there was a bubbling sound. The telly went off. We looked out and there was water. I ran down, grabbed everything to lift it as high as possible."

Karen, a resident in Stratfield Way since 2006, said: "Both cars are ruined. They were parked on the drive. All the carpet will have to be ripped up. The Christmas food was just left in the fridge - there's water in it. You never think it's going to happen to you.I didn't think this year could get any worse, what with Covid."

Dayle Steventon outside his house - inset during the floods

Katie Mason, Karen's niece, are neighbours. She had to be evacuated by boat with her 15-month-old son and their pet dog.

She said: "At 5am my neighbour went to work. At 7am she couldn't get back down the road because of the flood.

"At 7.30am it had reached the steps of the house. I shoved the baby in his cot - he was crying- and just tried to take as many things as I could rescue upstairs.

"The search and rescue people were absolutely phenomenal. I came out just in shorts carrying a bag and the baby. We are in complete shock. It will take about four to six months to get back into the house."

Jerome Smith in his house

Residents had watched the previous evening as the rains stopped and thought that the worst was over.

Dad Ryan Critchley had been so concerned that water had been rising 30 metres from his house that he called the Environment Agency to warn them.

He said: "I did try to warn them. I phoned them at about 7pm on the 23rd and said 'there's water on the road at about kerb level'. They said that someone might let them know.

"We were not given a flood warning until after we were flooded at 9.12am I got an email by which time we were already flooded out.

Katie's house

"At 7am water was on the drive, by 8.30am we had been flooded."

The family of three spent Christmas Day with Ryan's brother, with Santa finding his way to eight-year-old daughter Teigan.

Ryan said: "We managed to rescue Christmas. Carpets can be replaced but people can't. We had a nice Christmas together and that's what matters."

HGV driver Jerome Smith rents a property with his partner and her daughter. He had finished a late shift at 2.30am.

He said: "My partner woke me up at about 7am. I looked out the window and could see the water. We had to be taken out by a life raft. All three of our cars are ruined.

"We are insured and our landlady is sorting it all. We don't know why it happened.

Karen Ingram and Andrew Hill

"We've lived here for 13 years and it has never been like this. The water does come up but never this far or as fast."

Dayle Steventon, 50, returned home to find the ground floor under 12 inches of water.

"It's annoying. I was supposed to be selling this house and had an offer accepted. I've been told I'll be out for six to nine months.

"The support I've had has been brilliant. I was offered so many Christmas dinners.

"It's been a crap year and this just about tops it off."

Ryan Critchley with his Tesla that has been written off
Katie Mason is rescued from her house
Andrew in the wrecked living room