First cheque handed out for Ottery flood victims

PUBLISHED: 10:35 18 December 2008 | UPDATED: 11:56 17 June 2010

THE FIRST cheques to help residents of the Otter Valley who were flooded out of their homes by freak storms in October have been distributed this week.

THE FIRST cheques to help residents of the Otter Valley who were flooded out of their homes by freak storms in October have been distributed this week.

One of the relief cheques was particularly welcome as it went to a woman who was moving into her newly rented home that day. Susan Smith lost many items of furniture, household appliances and personal belongings when her home at Victoria Terrace, Ottery St Mary was flooded.

On Friday, Mrs Smith and her family moved into accommodation in Yonder Street. The first caller at her new home was Councillor Paul Diviani, Chairman of East Devon District Council, with a cheque for £500.

This was not as much as Mrs Smith had asked for in the application form she sent in, along with 19 other victims of the flooding. But she was delighted with the cheque, which will go towards purchasing a replacement sofa.

The cheque (see photo) was handed over in the kitchen of Mrs Smith's new cottage, surrounded by packing cases and household items salvaged from her previous home.

Many other applicants are receiving cheques for various amounts in the post this week. So far, the trustees of the relief fund have given away £4,600 to 14 recipients.

The trustees are meeting again this week to decide on relief for a further six applicants and these allocations will be posted out before Christmas.

Councillor Diviani said: "Anyone enduring house flooding has enough drama without having to face the cost of replacing items not covered by insurance. The people of Ottery St Mary and indeed across East Devon have as usual shown great community spirit with their offers of help, furniture and money and we have been honoured to match-fund their efforts.

"As Trustees, we shall be meeting again this week to review the situation and consider claims. Suzy is a tremendous example of fortitude in the face of disaster and was determined to get her new home ship-shape in time for her birthday, the day after we met. I'm sure everyone will join with me in wishing all those affected a better Christmas than they might have expected in the immediate aftermath of our stormy weather".

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