Young dad forced to abandon home praises fire brigade's swift response

Ben Kenyon
Ben Kenyon
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A young dad, who was forced to abandon his home with his partner and their baby son when floods hit Whalley for the second time this month, has praised the fire brigade and army for their swift response to the disaster.

Ben Kenyon said the army and fire brigade worked together to lead many elderly residents to safety when Boxing Day floods brought more chaos to the village.

Ben (27) who lives in Queen Street, said: “There are a lot of older people living here along and with no family and the police and fire brigade were very organised in getting them to safety.

“One elderly lady had to be rescued in a dinghy from her home.’’

Despite assurances from other residents that Queen Street and the surrounding area had not flooded for over 60 years, the worst happened and dozens of homes were left thre feet deep in water after torrential rain which lasted all Christmas Day and overnight caused the River to burst its banks.

Journalist Ben who lives with his partner Colette Ward-Thomas and their little boy Sonny evacuated their home when water started to lap against the front door.

He added: “No one could quite believe it because it all happened very quickly. At first we thought we may be ok but as the water increased we realised that despite all the reassurances that it had never happened before our home was goiing to be flooded.’’

After moving as many possessions as possible upstairs to safety the couple went to stay with relatives.

Ben added: “We are ok as we have family who can put us up but there are a lot of elderly people who don’t have anyone to take care of them.’’

He praised the response from the public in the aftermath of the flooding when dozens of volunteers turned up to help with the clean up operation, saying:

“There was a lot happening in the centre of Whalley but there were also areas just outside the village which didn’t seem to be getting much help at all.’’