Doncaster flooding victim penning play about Fishlake disaster - and he wants to hear your memories

A man whose house in Doncaster was gutted in the 2019 floods is penning a play about the disaster.

By Robert Cumber
Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 12:38 pm

Jeremy Fletcher’s home was among scores in Fishlake which were inundated during the downpours two-and-a-half years ago.

He and his family were forced to move out for nine months while the damage was repaired, and he estimates that 80 per cent of their possessions were destroyed.

Jeremy is now using his experience as the basis for an as-yet-unnamed new play about the Fishlake floods and the climate crisis, which is supported by Doncaster’s Cast theatre and will include verbatim accounts from other flooding victims of the nightmare they endured.

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Jeremy Fletcher's home in Fishlake, Doncaster, after it was flooded in 2019. He is writing a play inspired by the experience and featuring verbatim accounts of the disaster from other villagers

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The father-of-two, whose previous plays include Communicate, which was inspired by his own experience of bereavement, believes it is important to show what people went through and how much more upheaval will be caused unless the climate crisis is addressed.

He said: “It was horrendous. I’ve lived here all my life and the water had got quite close to topping the banks quite a few times before but there wasn’t a single person in the village, or from the council or the Environment Agency, who thought it would flood that night.

"When we realised it was going to flood we had about half an hour to properly prepare, pack and get out of there.”

Prince Charles meets villagers including playwright Jeremy Fletcher's son William, then aged seven, following the flooding in Fishlake, Doncaster, in 2019

They drove off but their car got stuck in the water and they ended up being stranded in the cold for several hours before they were eventually rescued, added Jeremy.

"When we got back in three or four days later to look around, it was soul destroying to see the state of the house which was under two-and-a-half feet of water,” he said.

Jeremy told how it feels ‘natural’ to write a play about what happened, and he described it as ‘sort of a cathartic experience’.

"I’m passionate about the climate crisis and I feel if I can’t write this play, who can,” he said.

It is a matter of weeks since Fishlake came within inches of flooding again, with pumps having to be deployed after heavy rainfall in February, and Jeremy believes it is only thanks to the flood prevention work since 2019 that another disaster was narrowly averted.

But he said that highlighted how urgent action is needed to tackle the climate crisis before more communities lose their homes and livelihoods due to extreme weather.

“What we’ve seen is just the tip of the iceberg and it should be a warning to people,” he said.

“When the flooding happened, we had literally every TV and radio station here but now they’ve gone it’s important to keep it in the mind’s eye.

"Theatre at its best engages people and keeps important issues like climate change at the forefront of the public’s minds, which is what I’m hoping to do.”

Jeremy is planning an event where people can share their memories of the flooding, to be used in the play, in exchange for some free snacks.

If you want to get involved, you can contact Jeremy on Twitter via @FishlakeFlood or by emailing [email protected]

The Last Motel, a psychological thriller with an environmental twist, written by Jeremy, is due to be be staged at Cast on September 13 and 14.