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Call for national emergency as public pitch in to help flooding victims

Residents in Stainforth have been trying to help those from the swamped neighbouring village of Fishlake.

A car in floodwater outside a house in Fishlake (Danny Lawson/PA)
A car in floodwater outside a house in Fishlake (Danny Lawson/PA)

By Tom Wilkinson, PA

The public have stepped in to help with clothes, food and cash but the Government should now declare a national emergency after floods devastated towns and villages, a local charity chairman has said.

Since the River Don flooded Fishlake in South Yorkshire, the Stainforth4All community centre, in the library of the next village a mile and a half away, has been buzzing with volunteers.

While local 4×4 drivers ferried people out of the rising waters, the community centre was busy with people taking collections of clothes.

The centre was filled with media staff as Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson came to hear local people’s stories.

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Jo Swinson meets volunteers (Danny Lawson/PA)

Stainforth4All chairman Fred Turner, 71, has been overwhelmed by the generosity of people bringing in bags of clothes for those who have lost everything.

Someone handed him £100 cash for the flood relief fund, children sold sweets they had collected for Halloween to raise money for victims, and those with the least to give have been the kindest, he said.

People from the travelling community had also stepped in to help with great generosity, he added.

Others in Stainforth had come forward despite having little themselves.

Mr Turner, who was born in the village, said it was in the bottom 5% of the country for deprivation, and added: “That’s what has been so heart-warming, that people who have nothing have still brought things in.

“If this had happened in London it would have been called a national emergency.

“I understand they are having a Cobra (emergency committee) meeting today, whether anything comes of it, we will wait and see.”

Mr Turner said villagers wanted the River Don to be dredged, as it was when he was a boy.

“It is a tidal river here, bringing in sand and silt from the Humber, and we have all the water coming off the hills around Sheffield,” he said.

“At high tides it is coming the other way too and Fishlake is in the middle.”

PA

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