Holiday cottage Christmas offer for Muchelney families left homeless by floods
Floodwater refugees in a village near Langport have not lost their Christmas spirit despite not being able to go home.
For many people Muchelney is slowly returning to normal, but some homes were so badly hit that householders have been told they cannot return for Christmas.
However, there is a silver lining for families taken in by the owners of a local holiday lets business.
William and Carolyn Roche of Thorney Farm Cottages took in some of their neighbours and are now planning a busy Christmas.
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The couple offered the use of their holiday cottages which were vacant to Kate Merry and her partner Nigel Bunce, who recently had a baby, and to Mark Pritchard and his three young boys.
Miss Merry said she would have liked to spend their son Elliot’s first Christmas at home but, thanks to the Roches, they will be in their home village.
She said: “When the flooding happened it came in the middle of the night. We spent hours trying to rescue our possessions. When the morning came a lot of people came out of their houses to see what had happened.
“We were still in the middle of trying to see what damage had been done when I bumped into Carolyn who said for us to come over.
“It was such a relief because we didn’t know where we were going to stay. We don’t have relatives nearby.
“They have been absolute life savers.”
Miss Merry is looking forward to making the best of the situation this Christmas. Her mother is coming over from Spain to stay in another of the holiday cottages.
She said: “A while ago she booked the cottages so it will be nice to be so close together.
“My partner’s family are coming over for Christmas as well so everyone will be together.
“It will be my little boy’s first Christmas so it is nice to spend it with people he is familiar with.
“I would like to thank William and Carolyn for coming to our rescue. We owe them.”
Mr Roche said it was a quick decision to take people in after the floods.
He said: “People were distraught. We were the last house that was not affected by the flooding. One of my neighbours was crying and my wife Carolyn said, ‘just get yourselves over here as soon as you can’.
“We had three families staying with us but we only have two for Christmas and New Year.
“It seemed as though it was pretty convenient for them as we are very close to where they live. They can still walk across the road to their own place.”
The flooding victims may not be able to return home just yet but being close by was a huge relief and they are now making plans to enjoy Christmas together.
Mr Roche said: “We’ve invited everyone over to our place to have a drink together for Christmas.
“The cottages have all been decorated in their own Christmas decorations and I’m sure the three little boys will appreciate that.”
The flooding devastated many homes and the Langport road is still impassible for most vehicles.
Now the water has receded those affected have been assessing the damage and making arrangements with their insurance companies.
Mr Roche said: “We seem to have got through the worst. It is just a waiting game now.
“We don’t know how long people are going to be here for but, as a community, everyone has been brilliant.
“Even if we couldn’t reach people we all stayed in touch by phone and email.
“It was a bit of a surprise how many people have boats in our village.”
Mr and Mrs Roche were also affected by the disaster as they lost £3,500 in cancelled bookings as many people decided not to come because of the flooding.