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Rayleigh rallies to the aid of flood victims
6:00pm Tuesday 3rd September 2013 in News
IT has been billed as the Blitz spirit, and the people of Rayleigh have been living up to that with their kind generosity in the wake of last week’s floods.
The floodwater left many houses severely damaged, in turn destroying items such as carpets, sofas, kitchen appliances, children’s toys and clothing.
Residents were quick to help out neighbours by giving up time to clear the mess and donate needed items for those affected the most.
Roads including Fairmead and Salems Walk were devastated by the freak floods.
Facebook pages such as “Preloved stuff for sale in Rayleigh and surrounding areas” and “Freebay Rayleigh” were used to great effect by residents, with a number of items being made available.
The sites are already used by residents looking to sell or give away unwanted items, but on the back of the floods they have become vital sources of contact for residents.
Jo Parker, 37, of Fairmead, was flooded out of her home with her husband and three children.
In the damage they’ve lost their sofa and suffered possibly irreparable damage to pine furniture.
But Jo is standing strong. She said: “We’ve had dehumidifiers lent to us, and much to my kids’ happiness, been given two bikes so they can ride around.
“I’ve had offers of clothing too. My phone hasn’t stopped ringing with people asking if we’re OK and if we need anything. It’s been amazing. We’ve all been helping each other out where we can with cleaning carpets and bits like that. Everyone has been fantastic.”
Unfortunately for Jo, there are items lost in the floods that can’t be replaced, such as photos and videos of her children and other family members.
She said: “It doesn’t occur that this will happen to you. We’ve lost sentimental things like the photos.They’re now gone. You can’t replace those.”
Yvonne Dunn, 34, of Danbury Road, who helped set up the Preloved page, has been overwhelmed by the acts of generosity.
She said: “In the space of five minutes of her asking, we managed to get a lady a washing machine and a sofa and everything else that she needed after the flood. Even now, people are still offering sofas and all sorts to help others.
“Nobody knows each other on the website, but people seem to look after each other and that’s something you don’t get everywhere.”
Marilyn Feltham, 63, of Grange Gardens, is part of the team that set up Freebay Rayleigh. She said: “Local people have made so many huge and great offers of help. A plasterer has been offering his service free of charge to those who need it.”
FOLLOWING the flooding, Rochford District Council has announced it now has special measures in place for residents inquiring about council tax.
Residents who have had to move out of their homes for flood damage repair are advised to contact the revenues and benefits team to discuss their individual circumstances.
The council’s deputy leader, Keith Hudson, said: “Some of our residents have had their lives turned upside down and their homes devastated by the freak rain event.
“We have been looking at what other practical help the council can offer residents who have found themselves in this situation and I hope that this extra help gives them one less thing to worry about.
“We are doing our very best to help those residents who have been badly affected and will continue to do so.”
Residents who have been affected can call the team on 01702 318016.
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