Catcliffe flood: "My home flooded on the day we should have been celebrating living there for a year"
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Susan Grey and her husband David were among 120 homes in Catcliffe to be evacuated on Saturday as a result of Storm Babet.
The pair were finally able to re-enter their home on Monday, October 23, after the last of the water was drained from the village, only to find out they would have to replace everything in their home.
"We have lost everything," Susan said. "We’re gutted. Because this is a flood area, it’s very hard to get insurance. We’ve got to replace everything ourselves."
Susan and David had only moved into their bungalow, on South View Terrace, a year ago on October 21, 2022. But instead of celebrating the anniversary, they were desperately trying to pack what they could into a suitcase before being taken to Catcliffe Memorial Hall, which was being used as a temporary evacuation centre.
Susan, aged 64, said: "We got evacuated at about 5.10am on Saturday morning. We just locked up and left it - we just took the belongings we wanted… enough to get on with."
They are having to stay at their daughter’s house while they work on rebuilding their home.
Outside the property is everything they own, from settees, to kitchen counters, to toys belonging to their grandchildren, all waiting to be taken away by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.
The carpets and wallpaper will need to be replaced, all their furniture, and even their Christmas shopping for their grandchildren will need to be done again.
On Sheffield Lane, Janette Oldfield, 65, has also had to part with a number of her belongings, including sentimental items. For her, the disaster has come too soon after the last serious flooding in 2007.
"I lost everything in 2007. This time I did manage to save a few things, but it’s still heart-breaking," she said.
"The council came and took off all the skirting boards today to air the house out, but I won’t be here for Christmas."
She added that Rotherham Council has "got to do more for us".
Amanda Jenkinson, a shop worker at Catcliffe Post Office, thankfully managed to avoid the floods with her house being on higher ground. She described the atmosphere in the community as "flat now.
The 49-year-old said: "It’s heart-breaking, especially because it’s not the first time.
"We were expecting it to happen, but it just happened so quickly.
"It’s a good community, everyone has pulled together to help where they can. But I think they needed more help from the council."
Rotherham Council distributed 2,500 sandbags to protect residential properties, plus an additional 1,700 for town councils, parish councils and volunteers across the borough.
Strategy director Paul Woodcock says the focus is now on the massive clean-up operation with more than 40 members of staff to allow Catcliffe residents to get back to their homes as soon as possible.
Council leader Chris Read said: "People are really fed up, sad and angry about what’s happened, and completely understandably. This is a community that’s been through really difficult times, with really difficult flooding in the past.
"We will look again in the coming days to see what more we can do, and what more it is that people need."