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Stockton couple tell of flooding nightmare
THE day after the floods forced hundreds of people from their homes Chris Webber met one couple who refused to give in to the rising waters.
Aa the water crept into their home, firefighters and police suggested Anne and Terry Harper should leave.
The couple were among hundreds of people who were advised to leave a flood-hit area of Stockton on Tuesday, as the emergency services declared a major incident with water breaching nearby Lustrum Beck.
“They were great, so helpful,”
said Mrs Harper. “But I just could not bring myself to go. I couldn’t bear watching the water come in, so I took myself up to the bedroom.”
It was from there, staring out of the bedroom window of the property in Hartburn Avenue, Hartburn, near Stockton, she saw crowds of people taking photographs as the waters continued to rise.
Among those gathered was the couple’s daughter, but, by then, the water was swirling around the pavement and she could not get back to her grandparents.
She managed to contact them on her mobile phone to reassure them and they waved back from the bedroom window.
The concern was for Mrs Harper, in her mid-60s and who has had major heart surgery in May this year and subsequently suffered a serious infection.
At one point, concern was such that a fireman piggybacked a paramedic in to check her over.
“I knew we had power and food and water and it was dry upstairs and I felt OK,” Mrs Harper said yesterday. “If the situation was worse we would have gone, but we just didn’t want to leave our home.”
Mr Harper explained they still had power, although at one point they had to use a portable heater.
Standing on his sodden carpet, he said they had lived in the house since 1986 and they had hoped to escape the flooding.
“I kept saying, ‘We’ll be all right, we’ll be all right,’ but midafternoon we saw water coming into the living room from the extension, in the end we had about two inches of water inside,” he said.
Mr Harper began cleaning up at 2.30am, yesterday.
Close neighbours Ron and Sheila Carling, of Burnside Grove, have lived in their home for 35 years and were in the worst affected area, next to Lustrum Beck.
Mr Carling set his alarm for 3am on Tuesday to check the rising waters.
He said: “I looked out and thought, ‘we’ve had it this time.’ We held on until about 11am and knew we had to go. We just packed a change of clothes and the firemen came on a boat and took us away.”
About 450 homes were still without power in the borough yesterday.
Most schools in the town and surrounding area reopened yesterday and Oxbridge Lane Primary and St Bede’s Primary will reopen today. Bishopton Centre, a secondary pupil support unit, will remain closed for the forseeable future.
Bishopton Road, in west Stockton, remained closed yesterday and Billingham Road, in Norton, north Stockton, was also closed.
Most traffic problems were caused by the closure of the A66 at Long Newton, near Durham Tees Valley Airport.