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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

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Counting the cost of South Cumbria floods damage

RESIDENTS and businesses have been counting the cost of Thursday’s flash floods.

Ulverston was one of the worst hit places in Cumbria, with rising water forcing emergency services to evacuate a nursery and St Mary’s Hospice.

Ulverston Inshore Rescue was busy all evening pumping water from flooded homes and rescuing cars that became stuck in deep water.

When a water feature at St Mary’s Hospice began to overflow, depositing stones and debris from Hoad Hill outside the door, staff took the difficult decision to evacuate.

Now staff and volunteers are working to get the building ready for the patients’ return early next week.

Sue McGraw, chief executive of St Mary’s Hospice, said: “We were up to our ankles in water – I have never seen anything like it.”

A volunteer at the hospice, Andrew Bass, said emergency services had responded well at a time when they were needed all over Furness.

He added: “All you could see all around was blue flashing lights.”

Meanwhile, staff at Rascals Nursery, in Lund Terrace, fear it could be months before it is ready to re-open after being inundated with water.

Children had to be carried to higher ground on Thursday and yesterday staff began to sweep away the mud.

Manager Alex Mitton said the flooding had been worse than it was in 2009.

She added: “Last time I was lucky – the school opposite was empty – but now there is no school and I need temporary premises to move into.”

She received the news about the nursery on a rare day off and had to be updated on the situation by phone as she was stuck in the heavy traffic trying to get to Ulverston.

Bruce Chattaway, station officer at Ulverston Inshore Rescue, praised the work of his team in helping Ulverston and Dalton residents caught out by the flooding.

Eight volunteers worked from 3pm until 1.30am pumping water out of 15 homes and freeing two trapped cars.

Mr Chattaway, whose own home was affected, added: “They were stars. You could ask them to do anything that night and they just did it.”

Now, as the community rallies to repair the damage caused by the floods, staff at both St Mary’s Hospice and Rascals Nursery are appealing for all the support they can get to help them continue to provide care for vulnerable people.

They have been delighted by the offers of help that have already been coming in but the hospice has warned the floods will be costly.

The café and gift shop at St Mary’s Hospice will be open as usual over the Dickensian weekend.

Meanwhile, affected businesses in Dalton have been busy clearing up and most, including Pampered Pooches Grooming Studio in King Street, are open as usual.

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