Waitrose gives hamper to Sidmouth flood victims

THERE was a surprise in store for flood victim Maxine Kershaw at Waitrose, Sidmouth, on Friday.

THERE was a surprise in store for flood victim Maxine Kershaw at Waitrose, Sidmouth, on Friday.

Friends, who learnt she and her family had lost all their belongings in recent freak flooding at Tipton St John, had organised the presentation of a food hamper to her from store manager Mark Shepherd.

"Someone who shops here asked us to help. If they hadn't told me, I would not have known anything about it," said Mr Shepherd, who was pleased to assist the family by giving the hamper.

Alan and Maxine Kershaw and their sons Alex, 12 and Greig, 15, were among those whose homes were flooded during freak hail and rainstorms three weeks ago.

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The couple, who run Regency Cleaners, Sidmouth, were left homeless and without any possessions or cars, after the disaster, because most of their belongings were still packed in boxes after a move to a bungalow at Orchard Reach three weeks before.

"We were very much still in boxes, that is why we lost so much. We hadn't had a chance to put anything into the attic or sort into high cupboards," said Maxine.

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"We lost everything, apart from the clothes we stood up in, including the only photograph of my mum and dad and pictures of the boys, down to the Christmas stockings they had when they were babies."

The family were woken by family cat Magic at around 3.30am, who was screaming because it was surrounded by water.

"When I got out of bed the floor was wet. There was water in the bedroom and it was wet everywhere," said Maxine.

The raised bungalow had about 18 inches of water inside, with a further four feet outside. It meant Alan, a diabetic, who is awaiting a major heart operation, had to be rescued by the fire brigade.

"The water was knee-high and we have steps to go down to ground level," said Maxine. "Our business van and private car were also lost."

She expressed thanks to all who had helped the family since their ordeal, including Waitrose.

"If someone has nothing, then anything is a bonus. It is terrible, I can't explain it. The boys have lost as much as we have."

Now in a winter let in Sidmouth, Maxine said her family "can't wait" to get back into their bungalow once it has dried out.

"It is so lovely there, that is why we moved.

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