Somerset flood rescue teams praised for 'helping people in time of crisis'
Voluntary services that helped come to people's rescue during the Somerset floods have been recognised for their work.
Somerset County Council held a special reception at County Hall this week for the selfless groups.
Chairman of Somerset County Council, Councillor John Edne, said: “The flooding that we experienced across the county at the end of last year has been unprecedented and we now know that 2012 was the wettest year on record for England.
“On behalf of Somerset County Council and all Somerset Local Authorities, I would like to pass on my sincere thanks to all of the voluntary agencies and groups that helped with the floods, whether it was by driving four wheel drive vehicles, assisting farmers with livestock, providing a boat service to collect prescriptions or just being prepared and ready to help if required. Every one of them helped us to help our residents in a time of crisis.”
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Representatives from voluntary agencies including Burnham Rescue Boat and Hovercraft, The British Red Cross, The Faith Communities Response Team, Plymouth Brethren, The Salvation Army, The Samaritans, The South West of England Rescue Association, Rotary, RSPCA and WRVS attended the reception.
Roger Flower from the Burnham Area Rescue Boat said: “We were called out to Muchelney on a cold Tuesday evening by the Somerset Local Authoritities’ Partnership’s Civil Contingency team and we managed to identify a potential launch sight to reach the stranded residents the next morning.
“We launched at first light and when we arrived at Muchelney we found residents lined along the ‘shore line’ that had been created by the flood water, cheering, shouting and waving!
“We evacuated one lady in her 80s and brought in prescriptions and supplies for residents with the help of Wessex 4x4 Response.”
John Pollock from the RSPCA added: “We responded to around 35 to 40 cases of animals trapped as a result of the recent floods.
“We had one case where we used a boat to evacuate a horse from rising flood water and had to bring in food for cattle that were in danger of starving.”
Mario Caves, the chief executive of Wessex 4x4 service, said: “2012 was an extremely busy year for us. During the floods we worked alongside Somerset County Council and other voluntary agencies to help people that were affected by the extreme weather and flooding.
“One case that sticks in my mind was where we had to transport an individual to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol so they could receive specialist treatment for cancer.”
Although the flood waters have now started to recede, Somerset County Council, the district councils and voluntary organisations remain on standby in case of further rain.