Ottery residents' �500 Feniton flood gift

FLOOD-hit Ottery residents gave their Feniton neighbours a helping hand this week, stumping up �500 to aid the village s still devastated church.

FLOOD-hit Ottery residents gave their Feniton neighbours a helping hand this week, stumping up �500 to aid the village's still devastated church.

While A 'Hailstone Hop' in June saw brave householders in Ottery rejoice at the end of a flooding ordeal that broke up an entire community, revellers that night spared a thought, and opened their wallets, for St Andrew's Church in Feniton.

Nearly a year on, the historic church, a valued community asset, remains a stripped out shell of its former self after a "terrifying" deluge of rain and hail on October 30, 2008, left it flooded.

One hundred and eight affected people who attended Ottery celebrations at the Tumbling Wier Hotel in June, chipped in to raise the sterling �500 total, handed over to The Reverend Cate Edmonds on Monday.

Thorne Farm Way resident Barry Fearn, who was among scores of homeowners to suffer flooding misery, felt Feniton was ignored in the press storm which descended upon Ottery, but was determined it would not be forgotten. He said: "It's an amazing amount, we only expected to raise a couple of hundred quid (at the Hailstone Hop).

"It's a pittance in regards to what is needed, but at least it will go somewhere towards it."

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Ironically St Andrew's had embarked on a �130,000 fundraising bid to restore its roof when the "freak" storm of October 30 struck.

"Not a single raindrop came through the roof" said its' Reverend, Cate Edmonds. She added she "could have wept" when she rushed to the church to see a torrent of swirling water had ripped through it. The damage, and ensuing mould and damp, have left it off limits to the public since.

"We need massive money, not all the money from the insurance will cover the work that needs doing. That should be around �200,000, but we will need another �200,000 plus," said a grateful Cate.

She added: "I was surprised when Barry contacted me wanting to help. It's greatly appreciated. You are never completely covered and every little bit helps nibble away.

"I visited every flooded (Feniton) home after the event and some people were more worried about the church than their own houses. They just thought churches aren't supposed to flood.

"It has been heart-breaking, a couple of church stalwarts died and couldn't have their funerals here. Generations of families have got married here and now some couples haven't been able to.