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The Cox family's story: “Our home was devastated”

Flood - wellies wading through the floodwater

When 2007's summer floods hit Ledbury in Herefordshire, the Cox family’s home – a converted barn – was very badly damaged. This meant that James and Angela Cox, and their four-year-old daughter, faced months living in temporary accommodation, with all the extra costs and stress that such a move entailed.

Angela remembers: “When our home started flooding, it all happened really quickly and it was terrifying. I was sitting downstairs with my daughter at the time and the water actually started coming up through the floorboards. We were really frightened and, although I tried to move some things to safety, the water rose too fast to save most of our belongings.

"As we live in a traditional barn, most of the living area is situated downstairs and consequently was flooded, including the study, bathroom and two bedrooms. All our furniture had to be destroyed. Worse, our four-year-old daughter’s bedroom was completely flooded and all her bedroom furniture and many of her toys were lost.

“The damage was very extensive. All the carpets and floorboards were ruined and had to be thrown out, and the plasterboard on the walls had to be taken off up to waist height. The drainage system was also flooded and, because our building has traditional oak beams, no dehumidifiers could be used so drying out the place was a much slower process.

Hidden costs

“The costs associated with having to move into a temporary flat – which was14 miles away from our home – soon became clear. Our insurance didn’t cover extra mileage costs and, with two school runs and my husband’s work journey every day, this added up to more than 80 miles a day. The temporary home had no freezer, which pushed food costs up. And with so many builders, plumbers and the like to deal with, our phone bills were astronomical.

“We found that trying to ‘project manage’ the house repairs became virtually a full-time job. It ate up all our time. Worst of all, our poor daughter suddenly had no garden to play in and was separated from all her regular friends. It was such a stressful time for the whole family – the amount of time, energy, inconvenience and upset it caused was very significant.

“The Red Cross’ grant money helped us to offset some of the many extra costs we had – and continue to have – as a result of being away from our home for so long. We also used some of the money to treat our young daughter, to try and make up for the many things she lost and the upset of having her bedroom completely flooded.”

“It took eight months, almost to the day, before we were able to move back in. I’m expecting another child in three months, so you can imagine how desperate I was to get settled again in my own home. We’ve had to replace everything so your grant was very useful and gave us a welcome lift. I want to thank you – we really are very grateful for your help.”

Read more stories of people helped through the National Floods Appeal

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