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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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Barepot - the forgotten victim of the Cumbria floods

The devastated residents of the tiny hamlet of Barepot are forgotten victims of the Cumbria floods.

Barepot photo
Damage to Crossings House, also known as Old Station House in Barepot

Tucked away at the edge of the River Derwent, Barepot and its 70 houses has largely escaped the scrutiny of the national media.

With no transport links, the village is isolated. It used to be a 10-minute walk from Workington, but now the Calva Bridge has been closed, there is no direct route.

Residents were returning to their homes for the first time this week to assess the extent of the damage caused when the Derwent broke its banks.

The village was evacuated last Thursday, November 19.

The floodwater has soaked carpets, brought stinking effluent into homes and written off about 15 cars.

The water has also ripped the Tarmac off roads, bent lampposts and is thought to have caused structural damaged to at least one house.

A Coastguard vehicle and a four wheel drive police vehicle evacuates residents.

But the public also played a vital role in the impromptu rescue. operation and one man has been hailed as a hero by Barepot residents.

Graeme Wood, 45, of Mountain View, Harrington, used his f4x4 Toyota Hilux to rescue villagers.

Mr Wood was called out by Brenda Nevins, the mother of his former partner, to help bolster her home with sandbags. But by the time he reached the village, he realised that it was well beyond sandbagging.

He said: “By 10pm the water was coming over the bonnet and the lights were underwater. It was all a bit hair-raising.”

He arrived at 7pm and drove 15 residents to safety in the space of three hours.

Mr Wood made about six trips between the flooded homes and the relative safety of the bridge at Barepot.

Ms Nevins, 60, said: “He was a complete hero. He was an absolute star.”

Joyce Cowin, 62, was ferried to safety in Mr Wood’s vehicle along with her husband John.

She said: “We hung on until the bitter end. We were one of the last ones out.

“He was a bit of a hero. He was great and very helpful.”

Keith Wallace, 48, said: “We were told we had an hour to get our valuables together and 10 minutes after that we were told we had to get out now.

“As they said that the river was coming through the front door.

“Graeme ferried everyone out at his own expense.”

Mr Wood said: “I did what anybody else would to if they had the means.”

Residents praised the work done by emergency services but said they would like to have received more support.

Nita Martin, 56, said: “I felt a bit disappointed because most of the emergency services were in Cockermouth. We felt we were a little bit forgotten about.”

Andrew Kelly, 35, added: “It’s a forgotten place down here. It’s like a war zone.

“We haven’t heard anything. We are still waiting for answers from the insurers, to see if we are allowed to take furniture outside and then we can air the place out.”

Have your say

very disapoited to hear nothing about Barepot with all the floods they have had there one of our friends lived there and lost everything there was nothing on the News about Barepot forgotte

Posted by mrs mair owen on 26 November 2009 at 23:26

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