Flood Rescue Team volunteers who carried two young boys from a flooded bungalow during the height of the Cumbria floods made good on a promise and delivered the youngsters a perfect present in time for Christmas.
Sebastian and Jacob Holmes, aged five and three, were among six members of the same family carried out of a bungalow near Kendal in the early hours of December 6.
The volunteers found terrified Sebastian and Jacob, taking refuge on bunk beds, and encouraged them out by promising them their own Flood Rescue Team helmets once they were safe and well.
And the team made good on their promise and travelled to the boys’ home in St Annes to deliver the helmets in time for Christmas.
The two boys had been staying at their grandparents’ Kendal home on the night of the flood.
Their dad Alan, Preston Grasshoppers club director, said: “After the rescue Sebastian and Jacob said they had been promised helmets, but I just assumed it was something the RNLI guys said to coax them out of the house because they were so scared.
But to take the effort to come and meet the boys and deliver them in time for Christmas is a fantastic gesture
“But to take the effort to come and meet the boys and deliver them in time for Christmas is a fantastic gesture.” The flood rescue team, working with other emergency services, evacuated at least 360 people from flooded homes during their three-day deployment earlier this month.
One of the team’s most difficult tasks was the rescue of Sebastian, Jacob, their grandparents Kevin and Mary, their cousin Haydn and his girlfriend Samara – as well two dogs – from the remote bungalow in the Levens area. They had been stranded for 12 hours and were using flash lights to signal for help while standing on kitchen worktops and bunk beds.
The water surrounding the property was fast flowing and, combined with the unpredictable terrain, meant it was too dangerous for the RNLI Flood Rescue team to use a boat to rescue them. A local farmer volunteered to use his tractor to ferry five members of the team to the bungalow with a rescue sled. The occupants were evacuated two at a time and then transferred to a local pub to warm up.
Alan said not being able to help his children himself was the hardest part.
He added: “Helen and I were speaking to the grandparents on the phone while the water was rising. The boys were sitting on the top bunk but were scared and crying that they wanted their daddy to come and help. We felt helpless. “When we heard the RNLI team had managed to get them out safely we were just so relieved.
“We are both just so grateful.”
Mum Helen added: “I just wanted to say a huge thank-you to the RNLI, not only for putting their lives at risk, but for being awesome human beings.”