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Marlow activity centre staff sacrifice Christmas to avert flooding disaster
STAFF at a Marlow outdoors centre were not dreaming of a wet Christmas as they gave up their festive break to help avert disaster when flooding hit.
Longridge Activity Centre suffered a repeat of last November’s floods heavy rains caused the River Thames to burst its banks and pour into the riverside site on Christmas Eve.
The Environment Agency issued flood warnings for the River Thames after storms brought waters to a dangerously high level.
And staff at the centre, which faced a damages bill of around £50,000 a little over a year ago, found themselves wading through floodwater yet again after the latest surge of bad weather.
CEO Amada Foister said: “We first realised we had a problem on Christmas Eve, but no one can do anything about it so we did our best to minimise the damage.
“The water came up about a metre and flooded the cafe, but it was nowhere near as bad as last year and luckily none of the other buildings were damaged.
“This just goes to show the amazing team we have at Longridge. People were in over Christmas Day and Boxing Day helping out.
“Two of my team were knee deep in muddy water all day on Boxing Day and did an amazing job.”
Last year, the charity-run outdoor activity centre was hit hard when it was engulfed by floodwater from the engorged Thames.
With insurers unwilling to provide cover for the riverside location, damages had to be paid for from the centre’s coffers.
During the latest setback, staff were preparing for the grand opening of Longridge’s new ‘Lazer Maze’, due to launch on January 6.
And staff managed to avert disaster by moving the installation out of harm’s way before it was lost to the flood.
However, despite the potential for disruption, measures put in place to reduce the impact of floods have held fast and damage has been kept to a minimum.
Mrs Foister said: “We have had a lot of support from the community and have managed to put steps in place to divert the water.
“Funding from Sport England has allowed us to re landscape paths to improve drainage and channel the water away from the main buildings.
“The Environment Agency has got better at warning us about floods and everyone deals with it a bit better now. I don’t think it will get any worse, but I hope they’re not famous last words!”
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