Shocked residents thank emergency services after Christmas Day evacuation from flood-hit homes (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Shocked residents thank emergency services after Christmas Day evacuation from flood-hit homes
RESIDENTS evacuated from their homes at Iford Bridge and Christchurch’s Beaulieu Gardens Home Park have spoken of their shock and distress.
Around 30 are still being looked after at Boscombe Day Centre, with many already picked by family and friends.
A Christmas lunch has been provided free by Forerunner meals on wheels service in Southbourne.
Marion Pope, 64, said she was evacuated from her home with husband Patrick and Poppy the dog and Alfie the cat.
She said: “It was terrible we had a couple of minutes to get out. We haven’t brought anything just the clothes we are standing up in. It’s dreadful but at least we’re okay.
“I nearly drowned when I was little, so I’m terrified of water. It was probably more distressing for people in their 80s and 90s though.”
Henry Higgins, 92, said police knocked on his door at Iford Bridge around 4am.
“Two police officers carried me across the water. I’m fed up and want to go home", he said.
“Everyone has done a good job of looking after us though.”
Mr Higgins, a Second World War veteran who was in Burma with the Royal Artillery and also at Dunkirk, praised the emergency services, adding: “It’s the old Dunkirk spirit.”
Tim Branson service manager for Bournemouth Council’s Social Services department said they were first alerted at 2.45am.
He said some members of the team went straight to the park to help get it evacuated while others went to the day centre to get it ready.
“It was a really good effort by all the service including police and fire and the NHS to get everyone evacuated”, he said.
In total it took four hours to get the whole park cleared.
“We have a lot of shocked and distressed people. Some stayed away overnight and have come back to find the place has been flooded out.”
Most if not all the properties have been affected by water, the fire service has told him.
The high water levels were caused by a combination of high tide and heavy rain.
Mr Branson also praised the park home site’s evacuation plan.
Day centre manager Jenni Collis-Heavens said they had about 30 people, which was fewer than anticipated.
“The priority was to make sure they are warmed and fed and having all the medication they needed.
“Later today the priority is to make sure everyone who needs it has bed and breakfast accommodation.
“Everyone has pulled together fantastically.”
Muriel Hollis, 72, said: “We have been looked after tremendously. It’s all a bit of a shock.
“I’m looking forward to going home as soon as possible.”
She was being looked after by district nurse Amy Lee.
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