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Boston floods: 'Everything I had has gone...'

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: December 12, 2013

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The tidal surge which hit Lincolnshire last week caused untold misery for thousands of people, as Caroline Wilson and Lisa Porter report

Boston's business-owners and residents have vowed to fight back after the flooding which devastated the town last week.

More than 800 properties were hit by the deluge following the most serious tidal surge in the area for 60 years.

Hundreds of people were forced to evacuate their homes and are facing several months away from their properties while the damage is repaired.

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Around 100 tonnes of flood-damaged goods were removed from the streets of Boston in three days.

Rebecca Callow, who owns The Cake Lady bakery in Wormgate, saw both her home and business damaged.

She said: "Our house got flooded and our car got flooded as well so we got hit three times – there just wasn't any time.

"Me and my mum went to the shop and we just didn't know where to start.

"The floor has to come out and the kitchen has got to be ripped out and all fridges and freezers, and the oven is absolutely ruined. We have got to gut it."

Stephen Glover, 55, lives in a bungalow in Bath Road with his daughter, Chelsea, 16.

He said: "I've lost everything. I was advised to leave the house the night of the floods so I went to stay with my sister. When I came back in the morning everything was ruined.

"I couldn't believe it. The tiles in the kitchen were all lifted and the carpets were all soaked.

"When I walked into my home the settee had moved and my bed was on its side. Everything I had has gone."

Mr Glover said: "The new flood defence should have been built sooner rather than later or we wouldn't have been in this predicament."

The Environment Agency issued a severe flood warning, saying there was "an imminent threat to life" on Thursday, December 5. The River Witham overflowed at around 7pm and swamped the town with water up to 4ft high in places.

An evacuation centre was set up at the Princess Royal Sports Arena but this later had to be evacuated too and residents were taken to centres set up in Stickney Village Hall and at Prince William Barracks in Grantham.

An extra 25 police officers were called in from Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Northamptonshire to help support the local emergency services.

The leader of Boston Borough Council, Councillor Peter Bedford, paid tribute to the work of the emergency service staff for the help they gave to people who saw their lives destroyed by the flood.

Councillor Bedford said: "Our immediate thoughts are with all those affected by the devastation. The lives of many people, including business owners, have been turned upside down.

"Talking to those affected you can see the heartache in their eyes – personal belongings ruined, their homes and businesses destroyed – something I hope they never have to experience again.

"The borough council will provide practical advice and guidance to those who were forced from their homes and we will begin a clean-up operation to return a level of normality to the town's streets.

"Together, as the people of Boston, I hope we can all support one another during this difficult time."

Boston and Skegness MP Mark Simmonds said it was devastating to see the destruction of the floods and called for further investment in flood defences.

A clean-up group called Get Boston Back On Its Feet has attracted more than 1,500 members on Facebook.

And the Secretary of State for Environment Owen Paterson described the Boston flood as "devastating" on a visit to meet victims.

Mr Patterson faced a barrage of questions about the planned Boston Barrier Scheme.

The Environment Secretary said he had a profound sympathy for the flood victims and the Government was committed to increasing budgets on flood defences.

He added had been impressed by "the real sense of resilience, the sense of the community, people pulling together to help each other and a determination to get back to normal as fast as possible" during his tour of Boston.

Cllr Bedford said the floods were proof of the fact that Boston needs flood defences as soon as possible.

He said: "It is tragic that we have had to have this kind of proof for the undeniable need for the flood barrier. The Secretary of State left Boston in no doubt. He has seen the consequences with his own eyes.

"Nothing could have been done to resist this flood – it cut through defences, knocked down walls and pushed through masonry, but the people of Boston have shown their Dunkirk spirit and have set about the clean-up.

"Some were back in full business less than 24 hours later. Christmas is still coming and we need to support local traders."

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