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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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We had to watch as our home flooded

An engineer has told how he saw a wall of floodwater burst through his garden wall before it swamped his home.

Sellafield worker Zach Hudson, 43, was standing next to the wall outside his Beckermet home just half an hour before it crumbled under pressure from the flood.

Zach and his wife Juliet, 45, could only watch helplessly from an upstairs window as water from the rain swollen Black Beck, raced across their garden and into their sandstone cottage.

The force of the water was such that it moved their car, and they saw possessions swept away as the flood swept through their conservatory and ground floor rooms.

The White Mare pub next door was also flooded as was another house in the village.

“On the Monday night, the beck was the highest I’d ever seen it,” said Zach. “By Wednesday night, it was about a metre-and-a-half above its normal height. At 1.30am, my neighbour was banging on the door, saying the water was a lot higher even than on the Monday and that I should take a look.”

As the two men inspected the garden wall, they saw river water spilling over the top, and clear signs of the pressure on the stone structure.

“We went straight back to the house and upstairs.

“Half an hour later, we heard a massive crashing sound – it was the wall going – and looked out of the window. Before there’d been a couple of inches of water coming down the driveway, but now it was 4ft deep, and coming across the garden, and through the pub car park next door.

“We saw the water go over the bonnet of our 4X4, and it was so powerful it was pushed down the driveway.

“If we’d been there when the wall went, we would have been swept away, and we’d be in the Irish Sea by now.”

Zach and Juliet have been told it will take up to eight months for their home to be repaired, and face having to stay intemporary accommodation.

He praised the Environment Agency’s swift response on the day. But he said locals, who have worked hard to clear up the mess, fear the chances of another flood are now higher since there is so much silt and rubble in the beck and this needs to be cleared quickly.

PColeman@cngroup.co.uk

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