Tuesday, 01 December 2015

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Freak weather causes north Cumbria primary school flood

Teachers donned their wellies and rolled up their sleeves after freak weather caused a Penrith primary school to flood.

Yanwath flood photo
Teaching assistants Linda Stanton and Ali Herdman and janitor Fred Leach

Bosses at Yanwath School, in Yanwath, were forced to close to pupils yesterday after torrential rain the night before.

Water poured into the building, affecting at least two classrooms and various corridors and toilets. The reception classrooms were worst affected, destroying a number of story books.

Conscious that year six pupils are in the middle of their SATs, those youngsters were allowed in for two hours in the morning to take the exams.

David Nattrass, senior finance administrator at the school, told the News & Star that all staff were in the building and working to get it reopened.

“We got a text telling us to bring our wellies,” he said. “We have been busy rolling back the carpet and beginning to dry it.

“We have got quite a large land area above the school and everything runs off there and down to the school. The school then acts as a sort of dam.

“It was full of rain last night – I don’t think anybody could have expected that.”

Mr Nattrass said that the school has had flooding issues over the past 15 years.

The main items to be damaged were carpets.

Headteacher June Venus issued a plea to the public to help replace some items not covered by the insurance.

Their particular need is for story books for children aged four and five to replace those which were flood-damaged. Anyone with books which they no longer have any need for is asked to donate them to the school.

Staff worked tirelessly to dry out the school, but a final decision on whether it would open was not expected until this morning. Parents are advised to keep an eye on the school’s website, Cumbria County Council’s school closure website and their emails for details on any closure.

Two “heavily flooded” houses were also affected by the downpour in Yanwath.

Emergency services said two fire engines were deployed to Railway Terrace to find floodwater on the ground floors.

A spokesman for the fire service said: “The crews used one main pump and two light portable pumps to pump out the water.

“They managed to clear the properties after more than four hours.”

The alarm was raised at about 8.10pm on Monday.


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