A father has told how his children and parents had to be rescued from the rising waters as the floods hit north Lancashire and Cumbria.
Alan Holmes, Director of Rugby at Preston Grasshoppers and former Fylde forward’s two boys were staying with their grandparents at Levens in the Lyth Valley when the rivers burst their banks amid Storm Desmond’s heavy rain.
The water flooded into the South Lakes bungalow in the early hours of Sunday forcing the family to take refuge up on a bunk bed.
Initially, rescuers could not get to the family due to the force of the floodwater near the home, but eventually the four were helped out by teamwork from a local mountain rescue team, a RNLI team from North Wales with a boat and a local farmer using his tractor to negotiate the flooded roads.
Alan said: “They are all safe and sound but it was a desperately worrying time.
“They were by no means the worst affected by the floods, people have lost their lives and had much worse damage in many areas, but potentially the recuers have saved their lives and I want to thank everyone involved.
“The RNLI team came up from North Wales because local rescue teams were already busy at other places in the area – it is fantastic to see how people come together to help out in such circumstances.
“They were put up in the local pub, the Hare and Hounds, with other people evacuated and one of the local farmers helped with his tractor whcih could get through the water better than the fire engines.
“We come from a rugby family and I notice that a local club up there in Cumbria, Creighton RUFC, had tweeted that it was cancelling training and appealed for its members to help flooding victims instead. That is community spirit.
“The main thing is that everyone was safe but it is heartbreaking for my mum and dad.
“The water was three feet deep in their bungalow.
“They had only just finished doing it up too.”
Alan said he had managed to find a route avoiding flooded roads, to pick up the children, Seb, five and Jacob, three, on Sunday night and that they and his dad Kevin and mum Mary, plus nephew Haydn and his girlfriend Samara who were also at the house were all fine.
“It was desperately worrying when we were on the phone to them when it was all happening, there was a feeling of helplessness.
“The children were a bit scared, but I guess they will look back on it now as a bit of an adventure.
“I just feel for all the people who have had their homes and property ruined by the flooding.
“It is heartbreaking.”