Residents share Doncaster flood horror stories with Prince Charles
Residents say Prince Charles’ visit to flood-stricken Fishlake has come as a boost to the village.
After walking through the streets and visiting homes affected by the disaster, he met with residents from all areas of Doncaster touched by the November floods at a reception at Fishlake Village Hall.
Among the crowds gathered to get a glimpse of Charles near the Old Butchers cafe was Dan Greenslade, with his baby daughter, Indie, in her pram.
Indie hit the headlines at the time of the floods when it was revealed that her family was unable to get home after her birth, which happened during the floods.
Dan said: “We all came down to see the Prince.”
He said Indie was doing well, but the couple had still not been able to get back to their home in Fishlake, and were currently living in a rented house in Barnby Dun. He said: “We don’t know when we’ll get back, but the rent is paid for where we are for six months.”
“I think it’s brilliant that he is visiting,” said resident Helen Copley, who came out to see the Prince arrive with her son Jake, aged six.
Arriving at the village hall, the Prince of Wales took time to speak to all the invited guests, all of whom had been affected by the floods, either through their home, business or role in the rescue and relief effort.
Among the youngest to meet the Prince were Alex and Will Mawson. Alex is 11 and Will is six, and were there with their mum, Lizzie. Their home on Pinfold Gardens was flooded, meaning they had to move out to stay with Lizzie’s mum in Moss. Alex said the Prince had wished them a happy Christmas, and asked about the school holidays.
“I think it is great that he made the effort to visit the village,” said Lizzie.
Café owner Louise Holling had to make a dash from her business, The Old Butcher’s café on Main Street, to the village hall – because she was putting on the buffet there.
She was scheduled to meet the Prince at the café, although in the end he met her outside, because of the large crowds gathered in front. From there she dashed to the hall, were she completed the buffet and met him again later.
She said: “I got him some Earl Grey from a Doncaster firm, the Tea Experience, and he said he only drinks Earl Grey with honey, so I got him some Fishlake honey from Stuart Twell.
“He asked how the flood impacted on the business, and I told him we didn’t flood, but we set up here feeding the emergency services, with donations that had been made. He also asked how it impacted on us as Fishlake residents. I told him it didn’t flood my house, but it flooded my animals on my small holding.
“Everyone in Fishlake has a story to tell, and it is appreciated that he wants to hear everyone’s story.
“I think the mood in Fishlake had dropped, and this visit has boosted people. It’s nice to see the kids out on the streets.”
Council officer Karen Johnson, part of the relief team, said the Prince had told her and her colleagues they had done a marvellous job while being exceptionally busy, and said well done to everyone.
Many of those present had come from outside Fishlake, as part of a gathering which was to represent all the flooded communities.
Phil and Dawn Henderson, from Old Denaby, saw their Ferryboat Farm Fisheries business in Old Denaby, flooded, as well as their house.
He said: “We have no home and we’ve lost everything. When we met Prince Charles, I was was introduced as ‘this is Phil – he is the most flooded in South Yorkshire’. He asked me how things were going and where we were living. I told him I’m living with a friend, and Dawn is living with another friend 15 miles away. He said that was shocking and asked if the council had helped. I said they had been fantastic this time, much better than they were in 2007.”
“He said he would be thinking about us,” said Dawn.
Pam Webb, who runs the Tuffle Lodge spa on Trundle Lane, was also asked how the flood had impacted on her business, which is due to re-open on January 6. After the disaster, she was told her insurance did not cover her for flood damage. She said the prince told her he wanted to gain a a sense of understanding.
“His parting words were ‘I wish I could do more’, but I think his visit here will have a great impact,” she said. “He said he was passionate about the issue of climate change.”
Farmer Robert Robinson, who lives and works on the outskirts of the village, told Prince Charles he was still living upstairs at their home, and many of his crops had been ruined.
“You just have to carry on,” he said. “I’m pleased he made the effort to visit and show his support. He asked me if the cattle were OK.”
Senior officials at Doncaster Council also raised with the Prince the issue of problems that residents have been facing obtaining insurance for their homes following the latest floods and those in 2007, during which the prince visited Bentley and Toll Bar.