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A Terrible Time

The memory of the great floods of 2007 in Tewkesbury and surrounding areas, will remain with us for many years to come.  A time where many of our church families suffered hardships through their homes being flooded and the loss of their possessions.  Those of us who live in the centre of town, humbly grateful that the flood water did not enter our homes but suffered the trauma of flood water creeping up in four different ways.  Seeing the Avon, no longer calm but a torrential, pounding beast reaching the top of the arches of St. Johns Bridge.

At 5.30 a.m. on Saturday in the darkness, seeing a brightly lit helicopter ,outside our bedroom window,  lowering a rope and wondering what was going on.  Going outside to find the street gridlocked, cars not being able to go anywhere, weary, stranded people.  We offer food and help but they decided to stay put hoping to be able to move soon.  Walking down Church Street to see people wandering around eating and drinking food provided by cafes and the Abbey Refrectory, not being able to continue their journey.  Rumours rife, everyone to be evacuated, water and electricity to be cut off, once a town, now an island.

Water delivered in bowsers, a bottle bank installed, people panic food buying. A young lad missing in the floods.  A father and son found dead in the Tewkesbury Rugby Club trying to get rid of water flooding the cellar with a petrol pump.

People ignoring the oncoming floods by playing football around the Cross, others holding a street party, another a steak party and the Abbey, now an island within an island, having a curry supper. 

Next day, stillness and eeriness of town centre, the stranded passengers having been able to get away, no traffic apart from army lorries delivering water, fire engines and the constant whirring of helicopters taking pictures of the floods, flying overhead.   

Most of the shops closed, just a few stranded people walking about.  Water cut off and bowsers in the main, dry. Everyone relying entirely on bottled water where a litre of water gives just two mugs of coffee and a small glass of water.

Aftermath of the floods - carpets, armchairs, a pair of walking boots outside businesses and houses, firemen pumping water out of cellars, floors ripped up,  damage, damage everywhere. 

A hovercraft and crew from Italy come over to help find the missing young man and do so in the field behind the Abbey, where now flowers and cards are left by family, friends and people who did not know him, but cared.  Kindness of people coming to the fore, helping where they can, in word and deed.  A week never to be forgotten,  and pray will not happen again.

Friends' houses under water and not being able to do anything to help.  An art exhibition to be held in the hall of our Methodist Church cancelled but opened for short periods the following week.  Hearing of local people stranded in their cars not being able to get home.  Kindness of people in providing temporary accommodation for those in need.  Caring people who loan furnishings to church members and to those who do the fetching and carrying.

The police so much in evidence, stopping people, particularly sightseers who want to see what is happening, entering the town ..  The height and force of the floods terrifying, but thankfully, the water levels start to go down - one road becomes clear but the police warn people wanting to leave the town that if they do, they would not be able to return.  However, those who had had to abandon their cars were allowed through to try and bring their flooded cars home.







All words and pictures on these pages (c) 2015 Mary Davies, Tewkesbury, UK





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