Family home at last – one year on after Storm Desmond

Photo Neil Cross
Brian and Victoria Laverty moving back into their home in Garstang twelve months after being flooded out of their home by Storm Desmond and after months of renovations, were flooded again in August, 2016
Photo Neil Cross Brian and Victoria Laverty moving back into their home in Garstang twelve months after being flooded out of their home by Storm Desmond and after months of renovations, were flooded again in August, 2016
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A family have spoken of their year of hell as they finally returned to their home at the weekend which was destroyed by Storm Desmond.

Clutching their seven-month old baby boy Fox, Victoria and Brian Laverty were forced to flee their home in Garstang last December as floodwater raged in.

Freezing cold and confused the couple couldn’t quite believe their home was gone in a matter of minutes, a similar feeling for those across the district as Storm Desmond battered the county.

“I wouldn’t wish this upon anybody, it is like a big natural disaster,” said Victoria who is a psychotherapist.

On the night of December 5 2015, Brian and Victoria were wrapping Christmas presents in their home near River Wyre whilst their son, Fox played happily in a sunken bed in the lounge.

The flooding in Cumbria appeared on the news and the couple watched in horror, thankful for the flood barrier in Garstang – but their gratitude didn’t last.

Two hours later water began to pour in through the doors and the toilet.

“There was water everywhere, it was like a film,” said Victoria, who is 42-years-old.

“We were in a state of shock, running up and down like headless chickens, moving things. Then we were completely under the impression our son Fox was playing in the lounge, we ran back in there and the whole sunken bed was filling with water, the whole thing was pushing up with him at the top.

“I felt like I was going to have a heart attack, at that point we fully realised we have to get out of this house.”

After escaping with their son and dog, the couple stayed with family before relocating to a bungalow nearby.

The couple’s bungalow was due to be sold but was used as a temporary home throughout the year.

Victoria said: “I do realise we were lucky, other people had nowhere to go but at the same time it was hard living in the bungalow, it was cramped and not great conditions for our son.”

The couple then had to go through losing their home again when flash flooding hit in August.

Builders were left with no choice but to rip up the refurbished home including plaster, tiles and under floor heating.

“I think for me that was it, that is the worst thing, worst than December because we thought we were going to go back in,” said Victoria.

“It’s very similar to someone dying, you go through loss and you have to start living differently. At the moment we are happy but when it rains we live in fear it is going to happen again.”

The couple, received a £5,000 flood grant for December’s floods and are creating a bund, a raised amount of earth, to go around the house. They have also joined Garstang’s Flood Action Group.