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Kidwelly pair forced out of home as devastating floods hit

By Llanelli Star  |  Posted: January 30, 2013

  • Residents Mathew Gilley, Aled Gilley and Adam Davies help clear up the floodwater in Kidwelly

  • Flood victim Joseph Cairns with neighbour Julian Ruck, who took Mr Cairns and his wife in to stay with him until their house was fit to return to

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A KIDWELLY couple were forced to evacuate their cottage after a "devastating" flood swept through their home.

Joseph and Lesley Cairns's New Street house was one of several in the area hit badly by Friday night's hazardous weather.

The conditions poured misery on the couple, as their lounge, bathroom, hall, conservatory and even their newly fitted kitchen were left under two feet of water.

As the heavens opened, fire crews had a total of eight call-outs to the area from 8.30pm onwards, including to Hillfield Villas, where they spent more than six hours dealing with water that had come over the riverbank.

Mr Cairns said: "We are absolutely devastated — we bought the cottage 14 years ago and it is so old and quaint — we have spent so much time and money on it.

"We just adore it and love living here, so to be quite frank we are totally devastated."

The 63-year-old gardening enthusiast recalled a "whoosh of water at a terrific speed".

After calling the fire service, the couple took action to try to save their beloved home.

"We started blocking the door with blankets and rugs and so on, but that was not helping at all," said Mr Cairns.

"I dashed around trying to get the electrical items up off the ground to save cost for the insurance.

"I went out to the main lounge and looked out, and to my horror the water was rising so quickly, coming down the little stairs through the gates and into my little garden which I have worked so hard on over the years.

"It took the little shrubs and just tossed them around — they were gone in a flash."

But the community was quick to rally round.

Neighbours took to the streets with buckets to help tackle the floods, which hit Ferry Road, New Street and Water Street especially badly.

And with their house in an "unliveable" state, the couple found help from one neighbour — as author and Llanelli Star columnist Julian Ruck stepped forward to offer them his spare room until they were back on their feet.

Mr Cairns said: "The support we have had from Kidwelly has been overwhelming.

"The mayor (Jeanette Gilasbey) actually came around at midnight — it does not get any better than that from a community standpoint.

"Julian and his wife have been marvellous in putting us up, they saw the fire engines and said there is a room for us if we want it.

"I thought that sort of community spirit was left in the days of my bygone youth but what happened here over the weekend far supercedes that.

"To get that level of support is just breathtaking and brings a tear to your eye."

Drainage

But Mr Cairns, who was involved in the hotel business for 40 years, feels that if there was better drainage in the area things may not have been so bad.

He said: "There are five cottages here that have been affected in New Street and we all agree that if the drains had been man enough a lot of this would not have happened.

"I talked to the mayor and she said she would take it on board and get the drains seen to because they really do need to be upgraded."

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