Members of a town in Derbyshire have rallied around a group of elderly residents whose homes were severely damaged by recent floods during Storm Babet.
Many of the residents of the 10 Alms Cottages in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, have been staying with family members after flood water “quickly” entered their homes, destroying a lot of the furniture inside.
Ben Sellers, who is local to the area, said residents were taken to safety by the fire and rescue team on the Friday afternoon. When the water dropped, on the Saturday morning, he and his friend Mark Harrison, 60, went to remove damaged items from the homes following a Facebook plea.
Mr Sellers, 32, who owns The Bank Cocktail Bar & Bistro in Ashbourne and works as a finance broker, told the PA news agency: “Yesterday morning, I saw that one of the residents’ daughters put on Facebook that they were in need of a van to help them move all the furniture to the tip.
“We went down there and used my van, as well as my friend Mark’s, and me and him helped take all the wet furniture out of the cottages.”
He said the damage done to the properties was “really bad”.
“The water flooded all 10 cottages up to like a foot deep inside,” he said.
“Literally all the furniture on the ground floor had to be chucked away and destroyed.”
He said a lot of the residents’ families were helping them and were “quite devastated”.
“I think the residents think they are going to be moving back in a couple of days, but the damage is so severe that it may be closer to six months,” he said.
“They’re going to have to take a lot of the plaster off the walls, refit kitchens, sort all the electricity.
“A lot of stuff that these people have had for a really long time, including pictures of their families, are damaged.”
Mr Sellers said many residents had lived in the cottages for over 10 years and were “shocked” about having to leave their homes as nothing similar had happened previously.
He said several of the cottages do not have insurance, so he and Mr Harrison set up a fundraiser to help them purchase new furniture and carpets.
More than £7,000 has been raised so far through the pair sharing the fundraiser link on social media.
“Mark and I saw how catastrophic the flooding was for the elderly and a lot of these residents have lived in Ashbourne all their lives, so we thought it would be a nice idea to repay them for the service they’ve done in their lives,” he added.
Mr Harrison, who is a caterer and is Ashbourne born and bred, added that he wanted to help set up the fundraiser to alleviate the feelings of “devastation” and “worry” from the residents and their families.
He said he has spoken to some of the families, who are “all heartbroken”.
“It’s hard, but at least if we can replace some of the furniture, it takes some of the stress away from them.”
For more information on the fundraiser, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/please-donate-to-help-the-resident-return-home.