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Monday, 06 July 2015

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Emergency teams evacuate Ulverston hospice patients

TERMINALLY-ILL patients had to evacuate St Mary’s Hospice in Ulverston due to severe flooding.

Emergency services attended after a stream burst its banks and the building, in Ford Park Crescent, was hit with a “deluge” of water.

Patients were later moved from the building for their own safety, with the majority being sent home under supervision.

Police helped transport people from the hospice with many roads almost impassable due to the heavy rain yesterday.

Firefighters helped try to contain the water, while mountain rescue teams and the coastguard were also on hand to assist.

Sue McGraw, chief executive of the hospice, heaped praise upon the emergency services for their help.

She added: “We were really badly hit – we had a deluge of water we just could not contain.

“We erred on the side of caution and we evacuated. We have taken the decision just to make sure we are safe.”

Families have been informed of the situation and patients are expected to remain away from the hospice over the weekend while the building is cleared of water and safety checks are performed.

Some patients have been sent to other facilities, including Furness General Hospital.

Staff are now left counting the cost of the downpour as the charity returns the building to working condition.

Ms McGraw said: “We are a small local charity and something like this for us is a really major financial problem. An event like this is really catastrophic and it will cost us.”

Duddon and Furness Mountain Rescue Team was involved with rescuing patients from St Mary’s Hospice.

Team president Peter Jackson, who described the rain in the afternoon as “horrendous”, told the Evening Mail 16 members of the team were involved in evacuating three people from the hospice. They were called out at 3.55pm and used two Land Rovers and a Transit van to take two patients to Furness General Hospital in Barrow and one patient to Millom hospital.

They also picked up another person in Barrow who had been taken ill and needed transporting to FGH.

Elsewhere, 15 children and staff had to be evacuated from Rascals Nursery, in Lund Terrace, Ulverston and taken to higher ground after becoming trapped by rising water.

And Ulverston Victoria High School, which also flooded, stayed open late to accommodate staff and students stranded with no way to get home.

The school also had to cancel its Year 11 parents’ evening.

Major roads into the town, including the A590 and the Coast Road, were impassable due to water and people were stuck at the train station after the line was blocked.

Motorists traveling from Barrow to Ulverston were hit by long delays and pubs in the town reported a boost in trade as customers flocked in to get out of the rain.

There was flooding at properties in The Ellers and Dragley Beck burst its banks.

People also took to Twitter to complain about being stranded in Ulverston as routes home were blocked and school buses were cancelled.

Meanwhile, in Penny Bridge properties were also subject to flooding.

Archie Workman, chairman of the Ulverston Business Alliance, described seeing a “river” running from his front gate.

The Penny Bridge resident added that drains were choked and water was “cascading” down the road.

Langdale and Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team reported having to use a four-by-four to take an ill woman from Windermere to hospital when roads were impassable to other vehicles.

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