UPDATED: Community pulls together as village homes flooded near Buckingham

A massive community effort saw villagers pulling together to help householders in Tingewick, after two months’ worth of water fell in a few hours and some village homes were ankle-deep in floodwater.
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Several houses on Main Street were affected, following a torrential downpour on Tuesday night (August 16).

Firefighters from Buckingham and Bicester attended to pump water out and help with the salvage operation, assisted by members of Tingewick’s own Response Group, which was formed following flooding to the village in December.

A spokesperson for the response group said: “As soon as the post went up on Facebook, one of our responders was there in 10 minutes with sandbags."

Sandbags in a house doorway in TingewickSandbags in a house doorway in Tingewick
Sandbags in a house doorway in Tingewick

Responders loaded their 4x4s and vans with sandbags, which they had prepared for just such an event.

The spokesperson said: “Quite a few of us spent many nights in the winter filling hundreds of sandbags and stacking them up on pallets, ready for this to happen.”

“We went up there with 4x4s and loaded up with sandbags.

"Many of the houses were pretty bad. There was a lady where the whole downstairs was under. We had to pump it out with the fire brigade – it was ankle deep.

The Tingewick Response Group had stockpiled sandbags after previous flooding in DecemberThe Tingewick Response Group had stockpiled sandbags after previous flooding in December
The Tingewick Response Group had stockpiled sandbags after previous flooding in December

“I went and got an extension lead, because the electrics had gone in some of the houses, so we got an extension lead to run power.

“We were helping the fire brigade with pumps to get the water out. But most of us were there wet-vaccing and cleaning out houses till 3am."

And he added: “It was an effort from Tingewick, it wasn’t just the Response Group, it was a lot of residents from Tingewick helping bale out.”One householder, who did not wish to be named, was home alone when a friend messaged just before 11pm to see if she was OK, as others nearby were being flooded.

She said: “I went downstairs to find water in the house. I opened the back door to find the garden underwater and about to break the sill into my back door. I was up to my ankles in the garden.

Water threatens to come over the step into the houseWater threatens to come over the step into the house
Water threatens to come over the step into the house

“It wasn’t coming from the road, it came from the drains. It looked like it was coming through the walls into the kitchen, or it might have been coming through the door and leaking through, I don’t quite know.”

She called a member of the Response Group.

“He himself and a load of other locals came over and started scooping bucketloads of water out of the garden to try and save the house,” she said;

"And thank God they did, because my other half was away that night, I was on my own with my dog. They were all very kind and helped save the house. I couldn’t thank them enough last night.

Villagers say the drains couldn't cope with the amount of rainVillagers say the drains couldn't cope with the amount of rain
Villagers say the drains couldn't cope with the amount of rain

“I’m massively in debt to them, they brought sandbags and everything else to protect the property afterwards.

"Without those people, I don’t know what the community would’ve done last night. They were fantastic.”

Thankfully, her kitchen floor is now drying out with the help of dehumidifiers, the damage does not appear to be serious.

She said: "If it wasn’t for that text message, I think it would have been a lot worse, I think the whole house would have been underwater.

“Without the local community I would be in a mess. A lot of the neighbourhood were down, helping people with pumps and buckets and sweeping up and everything.

“Everyone’s been very kind and I’ve had people come and knock on my door to see if I’m OK today and if I need anything. Everyone’s been very kind and supportive.”

Heavy rainfall on the roads on Tuesday nightHeavy rainfall on the roads on Tuesday night
Heavy rainfall on the roads on Tuesday night

An additional 100 sandbags arrived in the night, thanks to a delegation from nearby Steeple Claydon, after parish council chair Frank Mahon heard about the flooding at about 11.30pm last night.

“It was all hands to the pump,” he said. “We went down the Rec at about 12 o’clock, loaded up two 4x4s with about 100 sandbags and went to Tingewick and shored up some fronts of houses and that.

"It was just mayhem – those poor people, elderly people, 12.30pm at night, water gushing up out their kitchen floor, it was horrendous.”

The response group believes overflowing drains are to blame for the flooding.

A meeting is taking place today, Thursday, between Tingewick councillor Patrick Fealey, chair of Tingewick Parish Council Trisha Lightfoot, the Local Area Technician for the Highways department and the local manager for Anglian Water.

An Anglian Water spokesperson said: “In parts of our region last night we saw almost 100ml of rainfall, in only a few hours. That’s the equivalent of two months’ worth, on to ground that is essentially like concrete.

"As it’s been dry for so long, intense rainfall on to hard ground will not soak in, meaning standing water builds up because there’s nowhere for it to go, causing surface water flooding.

" It’s a bit like a bath plughole, and it takes time for the water to drain away.

“Our teams are working hard across the region to ensure our sewer network is running as it should and can take this surface water away as quickly as possible.

"In Tingewick, we’ve already installed a valve on one property to protect it from internal flooding, and our local team are in regular contact with residents and the parish council.

“But flooding is often an extremely complex issue with many different owners for the drainage network, such as Highways, local councils and even private owners, as well as ourselves. We work closely with all authorities who have responsibility for drainage.”

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