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THE EGHAM FLOODS ANTHOLOGY


CONTENTS A Poem by Teagan, Hythe Community Primary School Pupil................................................................................................. A Foreword by Councillor Mrs Yvonna Lay, Mayor of Runnymede 2013-14............................................................................ Project Coordinator: Zara Gillick Introduction............................................................................................................................................................................... A timeline of events by the Egham Hythe Flood Releif Centre (EHFRC)................................................................................. Testimonials from local residents............................................................................................................................................. Perspective of Phillip Hammond, Local MP............................................................................................................................. Perspective from Local Councillor, Fiona Dent...................................................................................................................... Community Action at Royal Holloway, Interview conduted by Eagle FM................................................................................ Account from Chertsey Fire Station.......................................................................................................................................... What went wrong? Fiona Dent on the issues that arose out of the floods................................................................................ Poems by Ellis, Fatima and William.......................................................................................................................................... A selection of newspaper clippings from the floods.................................................................................................................


THE EGHAM ANTHOLOGY TEAM Our thanks to Surrey County Council members allocation fund, and Runnymede Borough Council Community First Initiative for generously funding this community volunteering project. The digital version of the book will be located at www.runnyrivers.org.uk Project Coordinator: Zara Gillick Head of Interviewing: Emily Durrant Heads of Writing and Editing: Laura Hellon and Briony Hughes Communications: Cemre Camuz Research: Hannah Rogers Advertising: Tilda Andersson Design: Emma Halahan and Michele Theil Egham Floods Team: Chloe Riggs, Hattie Lamb, Lesley Dona, Sina Abou Zahr, Abby Young With special thanks to Sarah Corn at the Egham Museum, and the Royal Holloway Volunteering Team

Royal Holloway, University of London, and Egham Museum would like to thank: Flood Support Organisations St Paul’s Church Hythe Community Primary School & PTA Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Khalsa Aid Sikh Welfare and Awareness Team Muslim Youth Association Ahmadiyya Youth Club Royal Holloway University students and staff Scouts The Magna Carta School students Runnymede Borough Council Surrey County Council Chertsey Museum Redan Press Eagle Radio Tesco Sainsbury’s Flood Pets Floods Volunteers Natasha Bremner Angela Young Leon Turner Darren Bedford Liz Gibson Mike Llewellyn

Graham Rule Elaine Crewe Jo Perandin Mr & Mrs Mitschke Jenny Roberts Jean Lloyd Mr & Mrs Forster Cllr Yvonna Lay Cllr Gill Warner Jonathan Wilson Cllr Mike Kusneraitis Stacey Andrews Lisa Chessman Nina Kahonen Carole Carey Rabia Aizawi Chloe Crooks Andy hughes Julie Willis Debbie Bates Kaylee Ealsen (and her father!) Elaine Jones Father Michael Roper Lisa and Carol Whaley Rev Sue Loveday Claire and Mick Warren Janet Tahiri Emma Mosley Jo Maitland Jodie Redpath Carol Norman Caroline Joyce Shelly Davies

Sally McCleery Genna Clark Phil Simcock Anthology Contributors Hythe Community Primary School Kate McKee Sue Knight Florence Greenway David Pope Jill Lewis Marion Amon Rodger Puzey Liz Phillips Susan Wallis Violet Power Ray Boothy Sylvia Carter Ivan Fear Ted Welch David Debono Liz Gibson Charlotte and Jonathon Bradley Fiona Dent Phil Simcock Sarah Corn Philip Hammond MP Chertsey Fire Station


The River Thames, what a beautiful sight, It is always busy day and night! From the North Sea to the Thames Head, All sorts of wildlife roam along the riverbed. 215 miles long flowing through cities and towns, Travelling past famous landmarks and pleasure grounds. Covered with 200 bridges and 45 locks along the waterway, The Thames is England’s second longest river, where you can spend your Summer’s day.

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Beside the river bank people walk and fine dine, Whilst fishermen catch fish on a fishing line. Boats sail up and down stream enjoying the picturesque views, Much more interesting than an open sea cruise. Unfortunately, and be aware, from time to time, the river does not behave, It fills fast and floods areas with a large unexpected water wave! - Teagan, Hythe Community Primary School, age 9

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PHOTO CREDIT: CHERTSEY MUSEUM 6


FOREWORD: COUNCILLOR MRS YVONNA LAY MAYOR OF RUNNYMEDE 2013-14

H

aving been a councillor for 10 years I was afforded the honour and privilege of becoming Mayor of Runnymede in 2013/14. During that year Runnymede experienced the worst floods in nearly 50 years, 368 homes throughout the Borough were flooded - 250 of those were in the Egham area which was particularly badly hit. At one stage 80% of my ward was underwater.

supplies. The community came together in ways that I had not experienced. I learnt an awful lot about human nature and made friends for life during those very early days.

As councillors, we set up a relief centre in the hall adjoining St Paul’s Church, which is in the heart of Egham Hythe. Looking back I will always remember how taken I was with the volunteers, who gave up their time to help those in need, together with the local businesses who also came out to offer help in anyway they could, donating much needed

It was an amazing year for me as Mayor, one I will always remember with some amazing highs and sadly a few lows, although the unsung heroes of our community will always be the volunteers. Again a huge THANK YOU to all those people - I now know why Egham Hythe is such an amazing place to live!

I had the honour of meeting The Queen at Royal Holloway University a few weeks later, I remember how taken I was that she stopped to ask me how my area was dealing with the aftermath of all the recent floods.

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WELCOME.

H

ome to 13 million people, the Thames Basin is an important natural region. River basins, such as the Thames Basin, are sections of land consisting of pathways that allow water to migrate towards a number of rivers.

The Thames Basin reached its highest water level in 60 years. Shortly afterwards, Egham experienced one of its most devastating floods, occurring during February 10th – 13th 2014. According to police reports, around 1000 homes were flooded.

Annually, the Thames Basin sees 69cm of rainfall make its way through the waterways. The source of the river is located in Gloucestershire. The river then spans across 16000km2, travelling through Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Middlesex, London, Kent, and Essex. As large as this piece of land is, it is not surprising that our very own town, Egham, is part of it.

Although water levels stopped rising on the 13th, this was only the beginning. On February 14th 2014, there were reports of heavy rain and wind speeds of up to 70mph, which further worsened the destructive impact within Egham.

Whilst the waterways of Thames Basin are usually peaceful, they have been the cause of many incidents throughout England. During February 7th – 9th 2014, an overwhelming 30 flood warnings were issued across Surrey alone.

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Throughout this 4-day period, locals experienced a state of sheer confusion and disbelief; homes were destroyed, personal items were lost, and getting around was nearly impossible. Ayebridges Avenue had water as deep as waist-high. There were multiple power failures, and fallen trees left behind by the storm prevented water drainage.


However, the reaction of the community sparked a collective movement that both supported and comforted its members during these difficult times. 2000 sandbags were distributed all around Surrey, the army and environment agency built water filled dams to protect 200 homes in Chertsey, and flood barriers were set up. Finally, on February 15th 2014, the clean up around Surrey began. Unfortunately, residents continued to experience the impact of the floods long after. As numerous homes were destroyed, they had to be abandoned due to safety concerns. Theft was a great concern for local residents, and once again the community rallied together, taking turns patrolling the streets in order to protect their neighbours’ property. An additional unprecedented consequence of the floods was the arrival of flood tourists – this led to further displacement of water into homes, hindering the clean up process.

The Surrey Country Council states that it has spent an estimated value of £27,000,000 in order to cover the cleanup cost. Through the determination of the community, Egham was able to slowly, but surely, recover from the destruction of the flood. Although the devastation lingers in the collective memory of Egham’s community, we believe that learning from the past prepares us for the future. In this anthology we will be focusing directly on the voices of those affected, who have generously provided us with an insight into their experiences in 2014. We would like to thank everyone who has given their time and resources to assist the publication, particularly the students and teaching staff at Egham Hythe Community School. It has been our pleasure creating this book and we sincerely hope that you enjoy. Best, The Egham Anthology Team

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EGHAM HYTHE FLOOD RELIEF CENTRE (EHFRC): A TIMELINE Tuesday 11 Feb 2014 Sun newspaper delivers lorry load of sand to Thorpe Road alongside St Paul’s Church. Mrs Jean Lloyd, Church Warden at St Paul’s, with other congregation members opens the church hall to provide warm drinks and snacks to the queue of residents waiting to fill sand bags. Hythe School provided fruit, baby carrots and tomatoes which would otherwise have gone to waste. A small group of volunteers from the community then get together at St Paul’s Church hall to see what they can do to help people affected by flooding. Their main aim is to source and distribute sandbags and food parcels.

Wednesday 12 Feb 2014 Calls go out for volunteers to report to the church hall. Word quickly spreads and the original small team are joined by a large number of people also offering to help. The volunteers sort

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donations, man a phone line and set up a facebook page ‘Egham Hythe Flood Relief Centre’ and a twitter account @ ehfc14 Members of Royal Regiment of Fusiliers arrive. They operated from gazebos, lent to the relief operation by scouts and Hythe School PTA, set up outside the church in dreadful weather conditions. Later that night gale force winds destroyed the gazebos. The volunteer centre operates from around 8am to approx. midnight. Sand and sandbags donated by local companies and also sourced by Khalsa Aid are delivered to the front entrance of The Magna Carta School (TMCS) where volunteers (local residents including TMCS pupils and RHUL students, members of Khalsa Aid and Sikh Welfare & Awareness Team (SWAT) and Muslim Youth Association (MYA) work to fill the bags for distribution by the Army and volunteers with 4x4 vehicles.

Thursday 13 Feb 2014 Member of staff from Hythe School who was volunteering contacts Head of TMCS to request use of their premises and with help of TMCS site manager Nigel Cooper the volunteer centre is able to move from the church hall to much larger (and dryer and warmer!) dining hall at TMCS. The volunteers, army, police and fire officers work alongside each other with their own dedicated spaces in what becomes a command centre. TMCS offeres EHFRC use of their facilities including making large photocopies of maps of the local area and laminating them so they can be marked to show where needed help and extent of flooding. Also providing display boards and computers and access to Wi-fi. Redan printers in Egham prints over 5000 leaflets (free) to deliver to affected residents with information about how to contact EHFRC and get help.

Volunteers deliver them either walking in thigh-length waders or driving 4x4s to reach as many people as possible. The church hall continues to be manned by Mrs Lloyd and her team to provide hot drinks and hot food for the volunteers. The food was supplemented by deliveries of free pizza and curry and soft drinks by Khalsa Aid as well as free fish and chips from the local chippy. Tesco and Sainsbury’s both donate large amounts of food and bottled water for distribution

Friday 14 Feb 2014 Volunteers work from around 8am to approx. 10pm each day. Army work through the night working out which properties still needed sandbags. Residents visit the church hall to collect essential items, mainly food, water and items for babies such as nappies.


One family needs everything as they had done their monthly shop the day before the flooding and lost it all with little money to replace it. We are advised that water levels have dropped but are expected to rise again. Eagle Radio advertised our contact information. Visited by Philip Hammond, MP for Runnymede.

Saturday 15 Feb 2014 A new command committee is formed due to the ill-health of one of the founding group volunteers which meant the team were unable to access some of the information gathered or the emergency mobile phone. A local phone shop provides the team with a new phone for free. A new Facebook page and telephone number is set up to ensure continuity of relief effort, again Redan Press printed leaflets (free) with the updated information which were delivered by volunteers. BBC Breakfast news

broadcasts interview with volunteer about the relief effort. In the evening, EHFRC advise that sandbags have been fully distributed and ask that if anyone requires further sandbags to contact the council.

Sunday 16 Feb 2014 Volunteers continue to co-ordinate the relief effort from 10am until 8pm. Volunteers in the church hall hand out food parcels, cleaning materials, clothing and bedding.

Monday 17 Feb 2014 On Facebook EHFRC announce that with the help of the army, the Flood Relief Centre has distributed sand bags to all areas affected by flood. The army also distribute to other areas alongside Egham Hythe & Pooley Green. EHFRC hands the organisation of distribution of sand bags to the local authority.

Tuesday 18 Feb

The Future

EHFRC release a statement on their Facebook page thanking all those who volunteered. Organisations such as S.W.A.T and Khalsa Aid from the Sikh community provided over 300 tons of sand, hundreds of sandbags and over fourty volunteers. EHRC delivered over 400 tons of sandbags to almost 3000 homes within just four days.

EHFRC Facebook page is still supported and run by volunteers. There has not been much to do since 2014 but maintains connections with followers and will become more active again if another flooding situation arises.

Wednesday 19 Feb 2014 EHFRC winds down and hands over responsibility to local authority. EHFRC continues to provide updates, advice and information on FB and twitter about storage, insurance claims, what to do with used sandbags, local authority Flood Advice, Water company advice, what has been done with donations left over etc.

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PHOTO CREDIT: LIZ GIBSON


TESTIMONY: SUE KNIGHT

I

n 2013/2014, there was more rain than usual. The River Thames rose higher and higher, and it flooded our garden – we live next to the Thames – and isolated our boat. Fortunately we have riser poles that enabled the boat to float up several feet. We were visited by swans which drifted round into the back garden looking for scraps and a kingfisher decided our bird bath was the perfect place for fishing. We were moved out for eight weeks into the Thames Lodge Hotel, but our clothes, furniture, and contents of our airing cupboard stayed in situ while the mould crept up the walls. After eight weeks we moved into temporary accommodation in Virginia Water, but the only furniture we could take with us was a kitchen table and chairs and a small Ercol suite. All the rest of our possessions were emptied into boxes. Our beds, sofas, carpets etc were

cut up and dumped into a skip. We had antique furniture that was taken to Birmingham to be restored as the legs had whitened due to standing in water. The water came in through the sun lounge – 6’’ and 4-5’’ in the house, not much you would think, but the consequences were dire. However, the other side of Chertsey Lane fared worse, as the Mead Lake Ditch flooded down through to Aymer Drive. The water/sewage etc came into the houses by 2 or 3 feet. Chertsey Lane was flooded by about 2 feet needing the assistance of the Ghurkas with their lorries. I used to drive down to an area by Thorpe Park then walk up Chertsey Lane to my flooded home, at one time being hauled up into a very high lorry by two very short Ghurkas. One of our neighbours standing at the top of Temple Gardens, talking, and stepped back and shot straight down a drain which had lost its cover.

Fortunately he stopped himself with his elbows and was hauled out by friends. That could have been very nasty, as it was he was very bruised. All the roads leading from Chertsey Lane were flooded, including Norlands Lane. I believe one of the reasons for this was that, having removed all the gravel from the Norlands lane site, and having made cells of London Clay, which were subsequently filled with rubbish and closed, there was nowhere for the floodwater to go as the whole area was now impermeable. We remained in the Virginia Water house amongst our boxed-up possessions (and a couple of beds and wardrobes that had been lent to us) for 13 months, moving home on 19th March 2015.

PHOTO CREDIT: LIZ GIBSON

In the meantime my 78 year old husband had single-handedly raised the floor by 8’’ with 2x4 timber. We hope that this will never happen again!”

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FLORENCE GREENWAY

T

he events started on the 9th of February and Florence Greenway was evacuated from her bungalow shortly afterwards – 10th February at 9am. Storm after storm led to a sudden destruction of her home. Within her bungalow, the water reached 3ft up the wall and behind the wardrobe. Unfortunately, she could not save anything – ‘I wasn’t worried, there wasn’t anything I could do’. Florence explains that she was lucky enough to experience help from the council. Until she was provided with a flat within Egham on 12th March, she lived in various hotels and with family in

Lincolnshire, and was supplied with £10 a day for food. Overall, she was out of her home for three weeks. As the flooding continued, the council no longer provided free sand bags to the community. Individuals such as Florence were asked to pay for their own sand bags. On returning to her Bungalow, Florence experienced great levels of stress, however, she took solace in the fact that she had survived. Amongst the damage, Florence noticed a flower trying to flourish in a drowned flowerpot outside of her home, and saw this as a sign of hope.

DAVID POPE

L

ate afternoon, water came out of Devils Lane, then it poured into 24 Oak Avenue’s garden. This garden was lower than mine.

“It flowed outside my house, then went down South Avenue. Eventually, it flooded my front garden and back garden. Luckily enough, my house ground floor is 3” high. I had 1 foot of water under my house but no serious damage. I have photos of a kayak in the road outside with my neighbour in it. I spotted a goldfish a few days later when the water had gone down slightly. I caught it

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in my hands, and I spotted a teapot nearby so I used that. Eventually, I rescued 4 goldfish and ended up on the news at 6. A lot of houses around me were flooded. There were koi carp swimming in my friend’s garden. When the floods dropped they went back in the pond.” Mr. Pope also mentioned how his house was one of the last in his road to be flooded, and felt lucky that he could get away with wearing wellies.


“The human cost of the 2014 flood was incalculable. One disabled neighbour was taken away in an ambulance and spent a year in care, another one had no insurance and had to dry his house and dispose of carpets etc himself.� -Fiona Dent 15


JILL LEWIS

A

s soon as Jill Lewis noticed the rising water levels, she made preparations. Jill protected her car from the floods by parking at Royal Holloway. Located on Egham Hill, the University was not impacted by the rising water levels. Jill recollects issues she faced during the flood, such as lots of noise from helicopters, and being unable to drive to and from work.

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PHOTO CREDIT: LIZ GIBSON


MARION AMON

M

arion was one of the unlucky few who could not return to her house for a year. Due to difficulties in finding places to rent, she ended up in temporary accommodation in Weybridge. As a result of the sheer amount of water, Marion had to have additional heaters and dehumidifiers in her house for four months before any building work could begin. Luckily, Marion experienced great support from her insurance company, who sent somebody out to assess the state of the house the day after the flooding began, and immediately purchased four dryers for her home. Residents were told to not garden for at least a year, due to bacteria carried in the floodwater. On top of everything else, Marion worried about rumours of looting. She has since been provided with flood defences from the council in the form of a very heavy flood door! Although Marion has now returned to her property, she is

concerned about those who are yet to return to their homes. Marion commends the community spirit during the flood. Although the impact of the flood was devastating, the experience gave her the opportunity to build friendships with neighbours. Marion spoke to people she rarely spoke to previously, and was even invited to her neighbours for dinner on the first night of the flooding. With the Church in Egham providing food and various other supplies, Marion understands that she received more support from neighbours than the council.

PHOTO CREDIT: CHERTSEY MUSEUM 17


“I believe one of the reasons for this was that, having removed all the gravel from the Norlands lane site, and having made cells of London Clay, which were subsequently filled with rubbish and closed, there was nowhere for the floodwater to go as the whole area was now impermeable.� -Sue Knight, Resident 18


RODGER PUZEY

LIZ PHILLIPS

R

T

oger was extremely angry at the council’s approach to the flooding, expressing that nobody helped. Roger noticed a stark difference between the council’s treatment of residents during the 2003 flooding and the flooding of 2014. He notes that the council appeared to be more disorganised in 2014, providing less sandbags, a lack of flooding precautions and no phone calls. On Sunday 9th, as flooding appeared more and more likely, Roger made the drastic decision to leave the area and went to visit family in Hertforshire. He also moved on to say in a hotel, and was never reimbursed. When asking the council about the possibility of compensation, Roger claims that he was laughed at.

calling the local police. The police then proceeded to inform him that the flooding had subsided. Roger recalls the chaotic aftermath of the flood, with cars abandoned around Burger King, and deep water all the way up to Chertsey Lane. He witnessed the army rescuing the residents of Coopers Close with boats. The gas and electricity board provided Roger with assistance in checking that his property was safe. Once he had received this information, he proceeded to move back in. Although Roger had lived in the property for 45 years, it no longer felt like home. As the house was filled with water, he had to use dehumidifiers for a month, all of the carpets needed to be changed, and the kitchen panels and floor had to be replaced.

he flood took Liz by surprise. Luckily, as she was the last house on her street to experience the flooding, she had enough time to move her belongings upstairs.

Immediately after the flooding occurred, Liz stayed with family. However she did not like being away from her home, especially as there were rumours of looting. Liz recalls the emotional strain of the flood. Her mother was brought to tears, and they were both under the stress of having to look after other people. Although Liz felt the sand bags made very little difference, she recalls the kindness of the builders and other residents. Her friend benefited from a flood relief fund, which provided her with a bed, table and chairs. However, as many of her other friends were uninsured, their houses are still damp.

Whilst with family, Roger rang the council to ask for updates about the progress of the flooding. Unfortunately, the council could not provide him with the necessary information, and advised

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SUSAN WALLIS

S

usan remembers how ‘surreal’ the experience was. She had been on holiday, and arrived home the night before the flooding began. She remembers waking up in the morning and seeing that the nearby park had flooded, and how the water was still rising. Her road was flooded, yet she notes that the services acted immediately to protect residents.

PHOTO CREDIT: CHERTSEY MUSEUM 20


VIOLET POWER

V

iolet Power counts herself as lucky to have not been directly impacted by the floods in 2014: ‘the flood peaked about eight houses away from my house. South Avenue was badly flooded. Thousands of pounds worth of damage was done. Many had to move out and live in temporary accommodation, not to return until months later. When I looked out of my window each morning I felt we were blessed to be safe.’ The recent flooding reminded Violet of stories told to her by her father, who experienced flooding in the 1940s. ‘The floods were very bad. I have been told that my father helped deliver milk and bread by rowing boat.’

PHOTO CREDIT: LIZ GIBSON 21


RAY BOOTHY

I

do not recall who phoned to inform me of the possibility that flooding was imminent. I had previously received flood warnings and moved items upstairs in my semi-detached house in previous years. We moved into our home in 1961. My neighbour had mentioned to me that in 1947, when we had a flood, their house, including the adjoining homes on my side of Oak Avenue were not flooded. I did not have to vacate my home, nor did any of my neighbours. It was the house opposite that had their home flooded.” Mr. Boothby also mentioned that he attended the Memory Sharing session with his neighbour,

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David Pope, and that they had a lot of help in 2014. He revealed that ‘the world and his wife came knocking’, and that the army, the police, and even the RSPCA had sandbags delivered to those in need. He also declared that due to the paved gardens in the area, there was nowhere for the excess water to soak, and that he had one of the only soil and grass gardens left in his road. He believes that the flood was caused partly by the gravel excavation in the local area, meaning that there was an excess of ground water due to the high rainfall.

PHOTO CREDIT: CHERTSEY MUSEUM PHOTO CREDIT: CHERTSEY MUSEUM PHOTO CREDIT: CHERTSEY MUSEUM


SYLVIA CARTER

I

live in Egham Town and we were not flooded, but I knew that in 1947 the flooding had reached the end of our street. I was concerned that it would happen again. I was affected by the roads around Egham being closed because there were long queues and it took me more time to get to work. On the 14th February, I remember the Valentine’s Day storm. I had the day off and it was our anniversary, but also my husband was ill and had to get to an MRI scan appointment at Ashford Hospital late afternoon. We had an anniversary lunch at the Golden Café opposite the Youth Centre. As we came out, the rain was bucketing down. We left early for the hospital because of the traffic. The scanner unit was in the hospital car park, and while my husband was in there, the wind was blowing all around with a gale force. I was glad when we got home!’

Mrs. Carter mentioned that when she went for a walk along the Thames at Christmas 2013, the river was very high, so she predicted that flooding would be extremely likely. The Windsor Road was also closed in the January and February before the flooding. Mrs. Carter works for the council, and recalls how they found it hard to communicate with people, as those affected fled the area. The National Food Forum truck at the river by Runnymede was also part of the recovery process. She also mentioned that the Surrey County Council Repair and Renew Grant was not a rumour, and there was a scheme providing up to £5000 for people affected by the flood. This was in an attempt to prevent any devastation of this magnitude in the future.

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IVAN FEAR

A

s an avid steamboat enthusiast, the 2014 floods complicated Ivan Fear’s relationship with the

river.

Interested in steam engines since he was a young boy, Ivan eventually moved to the London area to work on the railways. After continuing to follow his passion for engines, Ivan eventually worked for a steamboat company – he even gave the Queen a trip on his steamboat!

With the water reaching a couple of inches below his doorstep, Ivan’s experience of the flood was a nearmiss. He recalls the issues faced by his neighbours, who were evacuated for months whilst their houses were being dehumidified. Although lots of sandbags were placed on their doorsteps, Ivan knew from experience that ‘water will have its way’. Ivan was especially concerned by the presence of sewage within the floodwater.

TED WELCH

A

s Ted Welch, long-time ‘froggy’, recollects previous flooding in 1947. He remembers that the army had to deliver groceries and post to residents via horse and cart due to the streets being submerged.

His father worked with linoleum in Staines, a job which required him to keep paint at home in his shed. During the floods, the paint leaked, staining the surrounding water red and green.

PHOTO CREDIT: PATRICIA HOLBROOK 24


PATRICIA HOLBROOK

P

atricia Holbrook couldn’t move her car off her drive for a week. They had no use of the toilets, bath or washing machine and compares the experience to being back in the girl guides as far as the toilet was concerned! “Many of my neighbours both opposite and going in both directions from my property were evacuated because their properties lay lower, many of which were subject to rising ground water. The majority of evacuated residents were out of their homes for a minimum of 9 months and one family

who live near the Meadlake River only came home just prior to Christmas 2016! Unfortunately many of my neighbours who were evacuated lost many treasures, old family photos, wedding albums, vintage record collections, special toys, etc. – all things that the insurance companies cannot replace.” Patricia goes on to state that “a great deal of effort has been made to encourage the Councils and Environment Agency to maintain the ditches and rivers in an effort to ensure we don’t go through this distressing situation again.”

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DAVID DEBONO

D

avid Debono was prevented from going to work due to fears that his house would be damaged as a result of the rising waters. Although the flooding did not reach his house, he remembers the ‘huge effort’ from the community in order to help one another. The church opened up to provide supplies such as tampons, toilet rolls, and nappies for those in need. However, he speaks of local resentment towards the army services, who took over the distribution of provisions just over a week after the effort was set up. People felt that their efforts were not appreciated, and that the Army did not respect their authority. As a result of this, the distribution system fell apart quickly.

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PHOTO CREDIT: CHERTSEY MUSEUM


LIZ GIBSON

L

iz Gibson stood as a leading volunteer in the flood recovery effort. Living just within Staines, Liz was lucky enough to be able to move her belongings up to higher ground. The flood relief operation began in St Paul’s Church Hall. Within two days, St Paul’s became too small to fit all of the donations. Liz and her team eventually found themselves in The Magna Carta

School hall, and operated from there for the rest of the recovery period. Liz praises the community spirit of Egham, with students from Royal Holloway travelling down to assist residents, Khalsa Aid providing food for volunteers, and local councillors helping out with the recovery effort from within the hall for 8-12 hours a day. Liz and her colleague,

Tash, tried to get in contact with as many people as they could, either via phone or Facebook. They manned the phones and created an operation board, using headings such as ‘get in’, ‘get out’, and ‘lost pets’. Altogether, Liz and her team raised £5,000 to support the residents of Egham.

CHARLOTTE & JONATHAN BRADLEY

C

harlotte and Jonathan Bradley were directly affected by the 2014 flooding. Jonathan remembers that the rainfall in the Thames Basin was greater than outside of the basin, increasing flood risk. The water came in from the back end of the house at 6pm, though he recalls seeing the water beginning to rise out of

the ground the night before. However, they count themselves lucky – they had been able to insure their house from flood damage, and the slow rise of water allowed them to save their car and move as much furniture as possible upstairs. Jonathan commends the ‘good community spirit’ brought about by the care and compassion

shown by their neighbours, noting that many people helped each other out. His 2-year-old daughter, excited by the rainfall, splashed in the water in her wellies like Peppa Pig.

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PHOTO CREDIT: CHERTSEY MUSEUM 28


LOCAL RESIDENT

I JAMES WATSON ROYAL HOLLOWAY STUDENT

I

remember the floods very well - after all, Runnymede was practically a shallow lake when it happened! I’m not sure which day it was, but when I learned of Community Action’s work, I decided to join them and help out at one of the relief centres. What I remember above all else was arriving to find large crowds of people, queueing up to collect sand bags, while the relief officers warned that there was a limited number available and they had to be rationed

out. Not having a society to join, I helped some members of the university’s rugby team in shovelling sand into the sandbags, sealing them up and handing them out. When things had cleared up a little, I stayed on to help load more sandbags into a truck to take to another centre. I also remember having a nasty cold when I did it, and my throat being in agony the entire time!

t started like any other day, I went to the shops, came home at midday. Workmen came round putting sandbags by the front and back doors. About 2.30pm I went into the kitchen and saw a puddle of water, I checked the toilet everything was normal. The water soon covered the kitchen floor, I noticed the carpet in the living room was getting wet, I looked out of the window, every thing was under water. The road was flooded. I telephoned the Council and told them water was coming up through the floor. I was asked if I had anywhere to go. I told them my daughter lived in Staines. I telephoned her. My son in law came to get me. I had no chance to pack any clothes. He turned the gas and electric off at the mains. When he opened the front door the water was up to my knees, and freezing cold. I stayed with them for a week. My daughter provided me with clean clothes. I stayed the next week with my son in Egham.

My neighbour from Roundway kept in touch by phone to let us know when the water was going down. It was like the wartime in some respect, everyone helping one another. When I finally got to see the house, everything was ruined. The house stank, and we threw everything away, and cleaned up the best we could. I am not sure how long it was before the Balfour boys came. Words cannot say how good they were to me. They did anything and every thing, nothing was too much for them. Now I mention Hannah, when I first met her we were strangers, over the past 6 months we seem like old friends. The Council provided me with a lovely flat, while my home was being repaired, it is not for me, I just want to go home to Roundway. I would like to thank the charity’s who got me a cooker, fridge/freezer, sofa and a table.

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CALVIN WAI THE MAGNA CARTER SCHOOL PUPIL

07:00

08:00

I woke up at the usual time on Tuesday the 11th of February 2014 for school, outside was an ominous puddle in the middle of the road where the drain was.

It cost about £700 to buy and we were not prepared to let it get broken. My dad, my mum and I lifted the keyboard first, Damn! It was heavy, I guessed that it weighed about 120kgs lifting it around the room was quite hard but carrying that weight upstairs was very hard.

I had known about the flood warnings but I did not think they were credible because I always thought that if we were going to get flooded that water would come from the river Thames in Staines but I was wrong! The water we were looking at was groundwater, at that point I knew we were going to get flooded. The time was 0710 so if I woke my dad up now I would get shot for doing so unless this was an emergency- this was. My dad was displeased that he was woken up at this time so I showed him the view outside. We leapt into action and started to move things upstairs eg. Computers, toys everything! The real problem was the piano. 30

We each had to bear about 40kgs but my dad had hurt his back and we had to negotiate the tight 90 degrees turn at the top of the staircase. It took 30 mins to lift the piano and its stand upstairs

09:00 The water had rose a few inches during the hour. We spent more time clearing the living room of the many articles of trash. I was then dispatched with my brother to shove everything in the bottom kitchen cabinets into plastic boxes. I found a packet of sweets in one of the cupboards (I was tempted to eat it) but now was

not the time to indulge myself in some Haribos. I was shocked to find that there was so much stuff in the cupboards. The bigger items had to go onto the counter.

10:00 Everything has got a little bit worse the water has gone up by another few inches my dad decided to move his blue VW Sharan to higher ground where it would be safe from the floodwater, it was bought only 3 months ago and if it was ruined it would not be good. My dad and I went to get sandbags to block the air vents and door, it was a good thing that there were no cops around because we were definitely in a rush and getting stopped would not be good. My dad went into Home base to get sandbags- bags of building sand. While I tidied up the boot of the Ford focus. My dad soon arrived with a trolley full of sandbags, plastic sheets and duck tape.

We had about 200 kgs worth of sand bags, they were literally tossed into the boot , organisation was not our main concern. The car felt quite heavy with the sandbags but the 1.6 litre diesel engine was coping fine . We literally flew home and started block the air vents

11:00 The water was getting quite high the water had got yet another few inches deep. We cut garbage bags up and taped them to the wall and over the vent .At this point things are not going well because the water is trickling into the garden and we don’t have enough sandbags. Heaven knew where the council was, with the sandbags! But now was not the time to write a formal complaint to the council. So we had to make do with what’s out of the bush literally! We used garbage bags and soil as makeshift sandbags.


12:00 Things are definitely not going well because the corrugated plastic had cracked and the water was deep enough in the garden so that boots were needed. We had completely taped up the front door so the back door was the only way in and out we taped the plastic to the door and sealed it as best as we could. But it was a bit of a botch job. The shed was full of rubbish that needed sorting out so my mum and dad went and did that and I went to see how my brother was doing moving books upstairs .

13:00 It is unbelievable how much there is in one house! There was still so much to move. There was also that small matter of the sofa ( it was not a small matter unfortunately) it is 2.4 metres long x 1.5 wide it was not as heavy as other items but its size was enough to cause worry instead of

carrying it upstairs ( which was not possible) we just had to put it high up using shelving.

, halfway through my lunch that was when things started to get very bad.

14:00

I felt my foot getting a bit damp that meant only 1 thing – the water had breached the sandbag defence or so we thought! The water had actually come through the ground under our house. Only now the council had arrived with the sandbags but it was awfully late for that.

The sofa was safe(ish) we had to hope that the water would not be that high. I looked outside, the water was getting very high and my dad called to get out contents insured while we were in progress of getting flooded but we needed a ‘flood assessment’ I was not sure what that was but I could see that my dad was irritated because it seemed to me that we could not do that at the present moment.

15:00 Over the past few hours I had better things to worry about that food but when I was asked what I wanted to eat , that was when I realized how horribly famished I was. I had not eaten any breakfast and now it was 2 o’clock in the afternoon. My dad went out and bought Chinese takeaway, when he came back we started eating

16:00 I realised we hadn’t moved my dads tools from the tool cupboard also where the fuse box was. The tools were very wet but regardless of how wet they were we moved them away anyway. At this point in time an evacuation was necessary. My mum got two suitcases out and got as many clothes in them as possible. Meanwhile my dad called the council and asked where we should go at least they were more helpful than they were with the sandbags.

17:00 We were told to go to a day centre for the elderly in New Haw so we locked up the house and left.

18:00 When we arrived we were warmly welcomed by the volunteers helping run the centre. Day centre was used as an emergency refuge centre. We were offered soup to warm us up. Then a council person came over to ask my dad our details I wondered why they needed to know so much about us but I was more interested in eating the soup.

19:00 We had one corner of the centre to ourselves and that was what was to be called ‘home’ for a few days

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PHILLIP HAMMOND, MP

W

hat immediately springs to mind when I think back to February 2014 is witnessing first-hand the devastation to people’s homes, particularly up in Egham Hythe and Pooley Green, where the only way to get about was by borrowed tractor. At the time, I was acting in two different, but complementary, capacities. As the local MP, my concern was for the immediate safety of local residents and for the security of homes and businesses in the town. As Defence Secretary in the Coalition Government, I had the wider task of co-ordinating support from the Armed Forces, where that support was requested by local authorities along the stretch of the Thames most seriously affected. Following the immediate aftermath of the flooding, the former Prime Minister, David Cameron, appointed me as his Ministerial

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Representative on flood recovery across the Thames Valley. In December 2014, following a long period of work with Cabinet colleagues, my predecessor as Chancellor announced an additional £60 million in new Government funding for the Lower Thames Flood Alleviation Scheme, bringing total central Government investment to £220 million. Local authorities (and other partners) will meet the remaining cost and I continue to work closely with Surrey County Council and the Environment Agency to progress this Scheme as quickly as possible. Once complete, it will protect up to 15,000 households in Windsor and Maidenhead, Spelthorne, Runnymede, Elmbridge, Kingston upon Thames and Richmond.’

“As the lo safety of and busin

As Defen had the w Armed Fo local auth seriously


ocal MP, my concern was for the immediate local residents and for the security of homes nesses in the town.

nce Secretary in the Coalition Government, I wider task of co-ordinating support from the orces, where that support was requested by horities along the stretch of the Thames most y affected.�

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FIONA DENT

T

he year 2014 started badly for me: a close life long friend died of aids-related pneumonia, following years of ill health, she had received HIV contaminated blood transfusions in the late 1980s. Highly distracted, I booked a flight and flew to Scotland for her funeral and inadvertently took my car keys with me. Meanwhile heavy rains had been falling in the Thames Valley all winter, the ground was sodden, and the river was bursting its banks. Despite my home being only 20 meters from the river on the Runnymede meadow, the threat of flooding was not on my mind at all. When the water did rise, my partner had to watch my Ford KA car slowly sink beneath the river flowing through our garden. I returned a week later to find the car standing on the puddled drive, still full of water and silt to the level of half way up the dashboard.

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The good news was that the water had not risen high enough to

enter the house; being an old boat workers cottage it is built 2/3 feet above ground level and there are steps up to the front door. So the rest of January was spent sorting out my car insurance claim, the vehicle was towed away to be scrapped and my partner power hosed all the slime and silt off brickwork, flag stones and the drive. We counted ourselves lucky that only the garden and the car had been ruined. The rain continued and the tow path nearby was still flooded, worst of all the rain was continuing upstream in Oxfordshire as well as downstream in London. Winter storms were churning the sea and Thames estuary out beyond the Thames barrier causing fears of flooding in the city of London. By early February our garden had once again become part of the river Thames and the dark grey/ brown water swirled through it. My partner drove his car carefully out onto the Windsor road and across to an Egham side street where he left it as our back up escape route.

PHOTO CREDIT: CHERTSEY MUSEUM

I did all the sensible things like check online for flooding advice, and we followed it carefully; I emailed Runnymede Council asking for sand bags then followed it up with phone calls, finally I received confirmation that sandbags would be delivered. No sandbags were available from local DIY stores and we were also ultimately let down by the council; our lane had no deliveries of sandbags despite probably being one of the most ‘at risk’ areas in Runnymede. The Police had set up a roadblock at the Egham roundabout to stop traffic driving onto the flooded Windsor road, but they still let through lorries heading for the bonded warehouse next door to

us. With no thought for remaining residents and their properties, the lorries steamed through the water causing tidal waves that flashed across the water surface to slap against our home, risking water entering through door frames or gaps in brickwork. There were reports from Maidenhead friends that the Jubilee flood relief scheme was doing its job further up river and that Maidenhead multi million pound villas were dry as a bone. That was good news for them, but the reports of water being released from the Jubilee river at Datchet on the night our house flooded have led many to believe that the flood relief scheme is not fit for purpose. The river was still rising and I only had a pair of knee height rubber


“our garden had once again become part of the river Thames and the dark grey/brown water swirled through it.”

boots with which to evacuate, so I took the decision to leave the house and stay elsewhere. My partner bought fishing waders that would keep him dry up to his arm pits so he stayed to try to defend the house.

top door step and started to seep up through the floor boards and laminate flooring. Finally he agreed to leave and he waded out through water at thigh height, with a small bag of belongings.

As I left the building in my high boots, I had not counted on the speed that the water was now rushing through the garden, it was a strong thrust, completely opaque and it needed concentration to walk through it to higher ground. The following days were interspersed with phone calls to my partner who had moved as much furniture upstairs as he could, eaten all the food in the house, finished off my bottle of gin, and still the water kept rising.

We watched TV news reports to try to follow what was happening at Runnymede, but the journalists were guided to safer places to film like Datchet and Wraysbury across the river.

In one night the water rose several inches and had reached over the

It was only by driving over the hill to Runnymede that my partner was able to decide when it was ‘safe’ to go back. When we did it was ghastly, the same filth and slime that still covered local roads was right through the ground floor of the property, the smell was an eggy, old

vegetable one and the old Victorian horsehair wall plaster had sucked up the water to chest height. The clean up began, I mopped and mopped until workmen came to lift all the laminate, then I mopped and mopped the floorboards, every day the mop water was still dirty. Later several floorboards were pulled up in each room to allow the space below them to dry, this seemed a bit of a challenge as only a short distance below was the mud of the Thames Valley Basin! Industrial dehumidifiers were brought in, and they blew air under the floorboards and pumped it out of the house through the letterbox and windows. Builders came and chipped off the old, iron hard wall plaster leaving the exposed brick work to dry too.

Every day the entire house was covered in a film of fine silt dust, the taste was in your mouth and nose and grittiness affected your eyes. Months later, the house and walls were still damp so extra dehumidifiers were fitted to behind the kitchen fittings and the downstairs shower room had to be dismantled. It was a full year before most of the drying, repair, and redecoration was completed inside the house. Sadly the garden did not recover, whatever was in that murky water poisoned and killed everything but the roses. The 3 x 60 meter hedge that separated us from the warehouse carpark shriveled and died.

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COMMUNITY ACTION AT ROYAL HOLLOWAY

P

hil Simcock, Volunteering Manager at Royal Holloway University of London, was a leading figure in co-ordinating the volunteer effort from the University. Having lived in Pooley Green, he had a connection to the area and knew that he needed to support those in need.

campus, which wasn’t affected, being higher up on the hill. A lot were in Egham, so not a lot of our students lived in Egham Hythe. A few student houses were affected, but our focus was on trying to respond to the community - to help them out, and to see what they could do.

‘It was something we felt that we just had to respond to. We weren’t necessarily experts in responding to floods relief, but we knew there was a group of volunteers in the community already starting to set up support for residents. We contacted them through Facebook and passed on some details of people that wanted to help, and we just asked how we could help. After that, we were constantly receiving emails from students and staff who wanted to be involved – I think we had about 80 names on our list. For students, a lot were living on

We had minibuses going backwards and forwards to the area – we found the route to get in, and we also helped to offload volunteers where they were needed. They filled up sandbags regularly, helped out at Magna Carta School, and outside Sainsbury’s to distribute sandbags. Some of our volunteers helped drive the army around when they needed transport. They helped distribute leaflets to doors where there were residents who couldn’t get online. Also, food,

bags, and clothing needed to be distributed. There was at least a 2 week period where there it was non-stop 24/7. The phone was constantly on. Weekends didn’t feel like weekends because you didn’t feel you could stop, because people were constantly in need. We would get calls from the flood relief centre day and night asking if we could help. We ended up housing Thorpe Lea Primary School in the University for 2 weeks because they were completely flooded, and the grounds were contaminated. What has come from that is that we now have an amazing relationship with that school. There are opportunities that come out of a strange situation – a hard, really difficult situation.’ INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY EAGLE FM RADIO

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CHERTSEY FIRE STATION:

T

he Chertsey Fire Station has been tackling flooding since 2002, with their services covering a large area, reaching as far as Staines and Thorpe. Their safety gear contains equipment that is considered a national asset. As a result of this, the team has aided in flooding relief in different locations across the country, including Yorkshire and Somerset. Prior to the flooding, there had been a series of press releases predicting heavy rain. Although the flooding hit a week sooner than had been anticipated, due to the build-up the fire-fighters had an idea of what was coming. The fire team provided continuous support for the duration of the flooding in Egham, and were assisted by the army and volunteers who provided access

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to their boats. The fire station was used as a hub for both the firefighters and the army. There was also a squad of Ghurkhas who were positioned in the area, and assisted with the heavy lifting such as moving sand bags. There was a cook positioned in the fire station 24/7 to aid with the round-the-clock work. The station was so full that the team had to step over people in the corridors. In the very early stages of the relief process, it was a case of response for the fire-fighters. It was non-stop work all the time, and the station soon became a chaotic environment. PPE (personal protective equipment) needed to be kept in individual piles, and some items went missing. The back of the pump was full of equipment.In terms of the relief effort, the fire-fighters strategically placed pumps at

locations which required as much protection as possible – these included hospitals and structures such as electricity stations. Furthermore, the fire-fighters spent time assisting residents. Those who were vulnerable were prioritised, and were taken away in rowing boats. However, the team could not force people to leave their homes, even under medical concern, although they could advise them to leave. Alongside rescuing residents, the team also concentrated their efforts on educating the public on what to do in the event of a flood. However, there were some individuals who hindered the help process due to not fully understanding the severity of the flooding. Some members of the community stole sandbags from strategic locations to sell to those in need, and others called

the emergency services for nonurgent requests, such as asking for a lift to the shops. Despite this, the fire-fighters commended the resilience of the community – there was a great sense of community spirit, and everyone wanted to help one another. The fire-fighters emphasise that it is not a case of if flooding happens again, but rather when. Therefore, in light of the events of 2014, protocol has been altered in order to ensure a better response in future flooding. Every fire station in the county now has a Land Rover for easier access to flooded areas, as well as some strategic locations now having access to tow-along boats. The team notes that ‘as a county, we are much better prepared’ than before.


“Weekends didn’t feel like weekends because you didn’t feel you could stop, because people were constantly in need. We would get calls from the flood relief centre day and night asking if we could help.” -Phil Simcock, Volunteering Manager, Royal Holloway Univeristy of London 39


WHAT WENT WRONG?

PHOTO CREDIT: CHERTSEY MUSEUM 40


FIONA DENT, LOCAL COUNCILLOR ON THE ISSUES THAT HAVE ARISEN FROM THE FLOODS

T

he human cost of the 2014 flood was incalculable. One disabled neighbour was taken away in an ambulance and spent a year in care, another one had no insurance and had to dry his house and dispose of carpets etc himself. However, the greatest loss was that of my friends in Chertsey, where 7 year old Zane Gbangbola died following a gas release incident in which both parents were hospitalised. Zane’s father became paraplegic in the incident due to gassing with hydrogen cyanide (a chemical weapon used by the Nazis in WW2 death camps) thought to have been released by flood waters from landfill. The campaign to find out the truth about what killed Zane continues at: www.truthaboutzane.com In trying to find answers to some of the strange things that happened during the Thames Valley floods in 2014, I have begun to realise that we really do not have a handle on land drainage or river management at all in this country. Whether people live

in urban or rural areas, our public policy is just not fit for purpose. Things need to change. In 2002, the Jubilee flood alleviation scheme was completed; it is a channel that takes water from the Thames above Maidenhead then dumps it downstream at Datchet, just above Egham and Wraysbury. A key feature of the Jubilee is that it moves water down steam at a much faster pace than the Thames which runs alongside it. The value of it in terms of flood protection is that it protects the riverside mansions at Maidenhead, Bray and Eton, but areas between Datchet and Staines have to deal with the much increased flow at times of flood. You may wonder why on Earth such a scheme was ever even considered? It was actually only part of a 3 stage larger plan that is called the River Thames Scheme (RTS) which was kicked into the long grass by the Tories as soon as they came to power in 2010. The designers of the Jubilee

were sued for the poor design, but what is most shocking is that no lessons have been learned from their mistakes or from the flood events in 2003, 2007 or 2014; each time the Environment Agency (EA) have been asked, there is no acknowledgement that anything at all went wrong. The Jubilee was originally meant to carry 215 cubic meters of water per second, but it does not, it carries less than 180 cubic meters per second. This was probably a blessing for me and my neighbours, but surely water flow was exactly what the Jubilee was designed to control? So much for the experts! Should the RTS go ahead at some point in the future, then the mistakes of the Jubilee should provide a guide as to what not to do. So far there has been no public inquiry into the Jubilee despite its many problems (including bank collapse) and it being one of the largest and most expensive water management schemes in Europe. Many residents downstream from Datchet are convinced that the Jubilee river caused the sudden

“we really do not have a handle on land drainage or river management at all in this country.” midnight inundation of homes and businesses from Datchet to Staines in 2014. Its second claim to fame is the huge new luxury housing estate that is now being built on the floodplain along the banks of both the Jubilee and the Thames by Maidenhead Bridge. Don’t let anyone say that bad design didn’t do anyone any good! The drainage of the land further away from the river was also an issue in 2014. River water did not reach friends living 2 miles from

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me but they were still flooded. The medieval Mead Lake Ditch in Egham is sandwiched between 2 raised landfill sites, the biggest one is 18 meters high and covers an area of 650,000 square meters with no apparent managed drainage and question marks over permissions to fill that high. The ditch did part of its job in taking the water runoff, but the culverts, which were supposed to channel water away into Thorpe Park were blocked and forced the water to run backwards up the ditch into the large residential area of Thorpe Lee and Egham Hythe. 3 years later Surrey County Council had still not arranged for the culvert to be cleared of silt and rubbish and it was not until they received public criticism that it was finally done in May 2017! The maintenance of culverts and the regulation of landfill sites, arguably, has been ignored by the authorities in this era of extreme cuts.

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However, the landfill taxes total collected over the years must be enormous and surely some of that should have been allocated to dealing with the problems the site probably created? The river water was just one of the flood culprits in 2014. The lack of effective land drainage over many years had a serious influence on ground water and river levels and the lack of river dredging ensured that the Thames would not cope with the quantities of water entering it. Two reasons are given by the EA for not dredging the Thames. 1 ‘It does not stop flooding’ - tell that to Thames Valley residents who avoided flooding between 1947 and 2003, a period when 4 or 5 dredgers kept the channels clear. Only limited dredging takes place now when the pleasure boats report scraping the river bottom.

PHOTO CREDIT: CHERTSEY MUSEUM

2 ‘Dredging is bad for the environment.” This section of the Thames has a mollusc called the ‘depressed fresh water mussel’ which can now be found all around the UK. In 2003 it was the reason given for not dredging round Staines bridge. What about the ‘depressed human flood victims?’ Last but certainly not least is the question of what chemicals and gases can be released from landfill sites when they flood? There are hundreds of sites in the Thames floodplain and coastal areas and hundreds of thousands of homes right next to them. Public policy around land drainage and flood prevention is failing us all badly. Our rivers are our greatest natural land drainage channels and our Government has little understanding of them, the last time we had a Royal Commission on Land Drainage was in 1927! In those days there were fewer properties on the flood plain, fewer paved surfaces, more trees, less crop spraying, fewer

homes built on or near landfill sites on the flood plain and global warming had not increased the instances of extreme weather. The Government promises to pursue the RTS but there is no evidence that it will have a beneficial effect except provide more sites for luxury riverside housing developments. Residents of less prestigious, previously flooded housing estates should not be overlooked in this way. We need public authorities to fulfil their public duties and we need a public inquiry into the Jubilee river development to identify and correct the past mistakes and to learn for any future schemes. Most importantly, we need a Royal Commission into Land drainage (free of political and commercial interference) our water and waterways are far too important an issue to be left to politicians and political interests to direct.’


“The river water was just one of the flood culprits in 2014. The lack of effective land drainage over many years had a serious influence on ground water and river levels and the lack of river dredging ensured that the Thames would not cope with the quantities of water entering it.�

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My Trip on a Riverboat I loved going on a riverboat. My mummy made me put on my coat. I liked to look at Windsor Castle. My sister saw a postman deliver his parcels. The Riverboat was white and blue. I liked the cows mooing and the people queuing. Ellis

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The Wonders Below As I gazed down below me, all I saw was the crystal clear water full of gleaming stars, but as I started to focus my eyes a but more, I saw the key feature of the river, the amazing things that make a river very special, treasured river indeed. It filled the river, colour and joy, it brought happiness to everyone and made the river alive. When you glance at it, your eyes becoming inseparable from it, as if you can see another world there, with lives like you and me getting on with their own ways of life. This is another world and life. It is the world of the sea creatures! Fatima, year 6

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What the River Means to Me! The strong, wavy river, Gushing under the bridge. Lots of boats to see, People out for day trips, Ducklings following the mother duck, Swans diving into the river making a splash! Children paddling along the riverside, Or jumping in to have a swim. My favourite river is the Nile, It is the longest river ever. William, year 4

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HOW TO PREPARE FOR A FLOOD:

A

short guide on how to prepare and act developed by the Egham Floods Anthology team.

1.Ensure that the floodline number is inputted into your mobile phone: 0345 988 1188. Other numbers to be aware of are as follows: a. b. c. d. e. f.

Emergency Services: 999 Police Non-Emergency:101 NHS Non-Emergency: 111 Gas Leaks: 0800 111 999 Power Cuts: 105 Water Leaks: 08457 145 145

2.Additionally, enter a friend or family phone number into your phone, and call it I.C.E (In Case of Emergency). The emergency services will be able to use your phone to contact someone who knows you under this number. 3.Have a Household Emergency Plan detailing the steps that will be taken during a flood. Ensure that all members of the household are aware of the plan. Decide in advance which items need to be moved upstairs for their safety. 4.Know the quickest route out of your home and neighbourhood, and ensure that you have two escape routes from your home. If members of your household are in different locations during the flooding, ensure that you are all aware of two meeting places where you can meet if you cannot get home or contact each other – one nearer to home, and one slightly further away. Ensure that there is a system in place regarding care for pets.

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5.Have a pre-packed bag that can be easily found and carried in case of flooding. Large water proof dry-bags are recommended as they are cheap and easy to carry. Similarly, ensure that there is an emergency kit in your car. LIST OF ESSENTIALS: Medication, repeat prescriptions, hearing aids and batteries A supply of nappies and baby formula (if applicable) Sanitary items Wind up radio (consider a combination radio/torch) 2 LED Torches Back-up candles and matches Essential hygiene items and antibacterial hand gel First Aid kit Spare keys Whistle Snack bars and bottled water. Remember to pack 3 days’ food supply and 3 litres of water a day per person. Important documents Emergency Plan and Contact Sheets. Emergency cash – cash machines may be unavailable during flooding. Map of the local area Non-essentials Credit/debit cards Mobile phones and chargers Wellington Boots Can opener Camera Games for children and the family

Watch out for Flood Alerts and Flood Warnings. There are 3 kinds of flood warning: a.

FLOOD ALERT: Flooding is possible

b. FLOOD WARNING: Flooding is expected, immediate action required c.

SEVERE FLOOD WARNING: Severe flooding, danger to life.

6. Make sure you have an up-to-date household buildings and contents policy that covers flooding damages. Cars and vehicles should likewise be insured. 7. Move furniture away from the walls and upstairs if possible. Tie up curtains in knots so they don’t hang close to the floor. 8. Turn off electricity and gas and move cars and vehicles to higher ground. 9. Use flood boards to block doorways and air brick covers. Sandbags, whilst cheap and easy to get hold of, aren’t as effective for groundwater flooding. 10. When leaving your house, take photographs of the damage if it is safe to do so. 11. When you return to your flooded home be aware of slippery floors and hazards underwater. Wear gloves in case of water-borne illness. Take photographs of the damage and collect evidence for any insurance claims. Make sure you keep samples of things you throw away. 12. Always open your windows.


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www.runnyrivers.org.uk

Egham floods final print  
Egham floods final print  
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