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'Blitz Spirit' as Marlow pulls together during floods
Marlow-under-Thames: A drone captures the extent of the damage to Longridge Activity Centre, which was badly hit (pic. Universal Sky Pictures)
A BLITZ spirit washed across Marlow this week as the community pulled together to help those affected in some of the worst flooding to hit the town in a decade.
Residents, firefighters, organisations, councils, churches and even banks have pulled out all the stops to offer their help after the River Thames reached its highest levels since 2003.
After rescuing a couple stranded when their Medmenham home was totally cut off by floodwater last week, firefighters have continued their operation by spending nearly a week helping residents battle the deluge in a Marlow cul-de-sac.
Church leaders rallied together to offer a central point of contact for those in trouble, assembling a response team to assist with the clean-up operation.
Wycombe District Council deployed sandbags for those worst affected, with Marlow Town Council ensuring the bags made it to some of the town’s most vulnerable people.
County Council teams emergency response teams have been on standby since the Christmas period, visiting 272 flood sites and fixing potholes made worse following the persistent heavy rain and flooding.
And residents across the town came together in their roads by clubbing together to get hold of pumps to keep the deluge at bay.
Marlow Mayor Suzanne Brown has given her thanks to the wide-scale response effort.
She said: "The response from both Wycombe District Council and Bucks County Council from our standpoint was great, and everyone pulled together to deal with a difficult situation.
"Sandbags were plentiful and they were very flexible on delivery. BCC’s Cabinet member responsible for flooding also visited the affected areas of Marlow on Saturday and authorised a substantial delivery of additional sandbags.
"We’re very thankful to the fire and police services, as well as the local churches, for their considerable help in supporting residents in dealing with the worst effects of the flooding."
The Environment Agency downgraded its Flood Warning for Marlow this week after consistently flagging up low-lying area for widespread flooding since the festive period.
The agency confirmed early on that river levels were expected to top out at a higher level than seen in the flooding of 2003.
Pound Lane was one of the worst hit areas, with nearby Garnet Court requiring a five-day operation by Bucks Fire and Rescue to keep the deluge from entering people’s homes, as reported by the BFP earlier this week.
The streets around Gossmore Recreation Ground were thrown into chaos when the river burst its banks.
Mill Lane was also hit, with police eventually closing the road, and residents of Fir View Close, where there was serious flooding, tried in vain to bail out before being saved by two large pumps supplied by WDC.
"At the height of the floods, Rev. Richard Becher of Marlow United Reformed Church gathered together church leaders to offer assistance.
Wendy Bull, curate at All Saints Church, volunteered to add her number to the town council’s website as a point of contact for anyone needing help.
She said: "I have been part of various voluntary groups across the area and I know when you invite people to help out it’s good to have a central point of contact.
"It can be difficult for people who don’t have anyone around them. The church loves to get involved and we’re happy to help the community in any way we can."
She added that staff at Halifax Bank on the High Street had also been in touch to offer their help to needy residents.
The area was featured on BBC News on several occasions, with the flooding at Cookham highlighted after all roads into the town were cut off.
The routes have now reopened, including Ferry Lane linking the village with Bourne End, which was one of the worst hit areas.
BCC deputy leader Mike Appleyard signalled his thanks this week to all the crews who battled to keep roads open in the bad weather.
He said: "My heartfelt thanks goes to all involved in helping to keep the roads around Buckinghamshire as clear as possible during the bad weather.
"Your efforts are really appreciated throughout the county."
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