Communities rally to help victims of the festive floods

The flooded pitch at St Jude's ARLFC club, Worsley Mesnes
The flooded pitch at St Jude's ARLFC club, Worsley Mesnes

MORE tales of despair and public-spiritedness have emerged in the aftermath of Wigan’s terrible Christmas and Boxing Day floods.

Several families had to be evacuated - some for a second time - as water poured into their houses on St Elizabeth’s Road, Aspull.

It was manic on Saturday. The fire service was here right into the night and Coun Hilton was brilliant helping people and getting the council down

Nadia Roberts

There was the distressing sight of children’s Christmas presents bobbing around in the filthy waters of one house.

Three households were put up at Tiernan Lodge in Platt Bridge while others sought refuge at relatives’ homes.

Local councillor John Hilton was down at the scene early on Boxing Day morning to liaise with the authorities and today he spoke of both heartbreaking and uplifting scenes.

The former Mayor said: “We think a collapsed culvert is to blame for this trouble and it was horrible to see all this filthy water flooding into people’s houses. Seeing children’s presents bobbing around in the water was very upsetting.

“But people rose to the occasion magnificently. Three fire engines were there for several hours helping to pump out and there should be a special mention for one of the neighbours, John Gaskell, who spent hours providing the firefighters with bacon butties and turkey rolls.”

Breheny Security, at no cost to the council, also offered to provide security for the abandoned homes.

One resident of St Elizabeth’s Road today described the horrors she faced as a torrent poured unstoppably into her home.

And Nadia Roberts says this isn’t the first time this has happened, with the last just weeks ago.

The Boxing Day floods have caused thousands of pounds of damage to her items such as sofas, televisions, exercise equipment and washing machines.

“The water was about 3ft high outside and a foot high inside,” said Mrs Roberts, who lives with her two children aged 15 and 20.

“We managed to move a lot of stuff upstairs on Christmas night when the water started coming in but so much is ruined.

“It actually came in two weeks ago so we had moved other stuff out already. I’m in limbo now waiting for the insurance company.

“It’s not fair because each time we claim, our premium goes up. It happened about eight years ago too.

“No-one seems to do anything though. The council aren’t taking responsibility and United Utilities say there’s nothing they can do.

“Me and my daughter have had to move into my mum’s and my son has gone living with his girlfriend. We don’t know how long we will be out of our home for.

“It was manic on Saturday. The fire service was here right into the night and Coun Hilton was brilliant helping people and getting the council down.”

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said it was stretched to the limit across the whole county and was involved in dozens of flood-related call-outs in Wigan borough alone between Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

These included pumping water out of homes in Bickershaw and led 12 people to safety in Platt Bridge while protecting an electricity sub-station nearby.

Boat crews also rescued 20 residents in Templeton Street, Platt Bridge.

County fire officer Peter O’Reilly said: “There were many calls from individuals just looking for help as water poured into their homes, damaging electrics and power supplies as well as belongings and personal possessions. Crew reported seeing people’s Christmas presents and other things floating out of their homes. One man was swimming across his living room trying to retrieve his slippers.

“But there were many tales of people rallying together too. We had people bringing 4x4 vehicles, tractors with flatbed trailers and even boats to incidents to help us.

“We couldn’t have done it without them and would like to thank each and every person who came out of their homes to help.”