Do disasters always happen at the worst possible time? Readers may recall from the last magazine that torrential rain totalling 34.8mm fell in the Wychwoods on 23rd December. The results were catastrophic. The Old Prebendal nursing home lies adjacent to the Evenlode and suffered from serious flooding back in 2007. Considerable extra drainage work was carried out alongside the river after that event but even this work was insufficient for that rainfall on 23rd.
Staff at the home were on the alert but with little warning, flood water began to enter the nursing home early on Christmas Eve. The community response was immediate, appropriate and generous. The New Beaconsfield Hall was opened, chairs set out and shops and pubs promised their help to meet the needs of many elderly, shocked and confused residents who were brought across from the Home in a trailer, towed by tractor, a move described by one helper as ‘the journey from hell.’
As residents arrived, food and hot drinks were made available and, in a perfect example of needs being met, a bag of ski socks arrived so that staff and residents alike could restore wet and often filthy feet. Massaged feet and warm socks were almost a life saver.
The evacuation was over by mid-morning and by the afternoon, all the residents had been transported to a new unit at Freeland nursing home. The hall was tidied and Christmas preparations could resume but that whole day reflected tremendous credit on the community and its parish council.