FLOODING LATEST: Landlord opens pub as safehouse from storm

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A generous landlord opened up his pub as a safehouse after torrential rains and floods drove people from their homes.

Gary Wright, owner of The Grapes pub in St Michaels, was contacted by the Environment Agency two days before the Boxing Day deluge struck Lancashire.

The Grapes pub in St Michaels

The Grapes pub in St Michaels

He said: “They asked me if I would be willing to keep my pub open to the public and I said I would.

“The Environment Agency was very worried about the high tide and the river breaking its banks.

“We had people wandering in and out all day - residents and people from the emergency services. We were giving tea and coffee and biscuits and bacon butties all day.”

“The response we’ve had from the community has just been tremendous. People from Garstang delivered parcels of food and local businesses offered their help by making pans of soup and dropping them off here, and there have been lots of people wanting to donate things.

“This is our community. The people of St Michaels keep me and my family fed throughout the year and this is a way of paying them back and helping them.”

The downpour came as another blow to the village after devastating 5ft-deep floods earlier this month saw 20 homes evacuated. The Boxing Day deluge marks the second time Mr Wright has opened his pub to needy residents

Luckily, he said, St Michaels was spared the worst of the floods.

He said: “Some people were a bit concerned and worried. We had a lot of sandbags delivered to the pub so people could come in and take them just in case.

“But the River Wyre didn’t even burst its banks. There was a bit of sewage in the roads and a considerable puddle covering the main street, but compared to the first floods it was nothing.

“Everyone is counting themselves lucky. We were prepared for the worst but fortunately it didnt happen.”

The Grapes pub will be operating as a safehouse for as long as the floods remain.

The A586 at St Michael’s has now re-opened after being assessed for structural damage.