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Couple ‘devastated’ by flood water damage to Little Whelnetham home

Cottage in Little Whelnetham damaged by flood water
Cottage in Little Whelnetham damaged by flood water

A family have been left ‘devastated’ by flood water which ravaged their idyllic Little Whelnetham home.

Claire Gouge rushed back to her cottage in Sudbury Road yesterday afternoon after police contacted her at work.

Ian Smith and Claire Gouge with Alfie, 12
Ian Smith and Claire Gouge with Alfie, 12

“They said I needed to get home ASAP because my house was flooding. I didn’t realise at that point how bad it was,” said the 39-year-old, who has two children.

“I got here and I just cried. I couldn’t even enter the building because there was so much water and it was too dangerous – it was just below my windowsill,” she added.

Claire’s partner, Ian Smith, who also has three children, said he was electrocuted when he first went in to retrieve Pebbles, their four-year-old Yorkshire terrier.

He found the dog stranded on top of a dining table and thinks she must have got up there using buoyed furniture.

Kitchen after the flood
Kitchen after the flood

The 43-year-old electrician said: “The first thing I saw when I came in was the fridge floating and I thought ‘oh my God, I hope Pebbles is alright’. When I came in here she had jumped up onto the table - I think the coffee table or settee must have floated that way.”

The ground floor of the cottage was 2ft deep in flood water which had spilled in from the road outside.

Police, firefighters and the Environment Agency were all called to the scene.

Catherine Loring saw the water level rising through a window at Colne Stoves, where she works with her partner, Angus.

She said: “There was a lot of rain yesterday afternoon and all of a sudden you could see it building up on the road. We’re on a slope here so naturally it was all going onto the road and as the cars were coming past it was creating waves.

“The cars were moving towards the centre of the road so I went to have a look and it was pretty much submerged and, of course, you were still getting the lorries coming down.”

“I was out there when Claire came home and she was quite upset, bless her, and worried about her dog,” she added.

Since 2014 Claire has criticised Suffolk County Council for not doing more to prevent flooding on the road in front of her home.

On Monday Suffolk Highways began carrying out two weeks of draining works in that section of Sudbury Road.

For more, see Friday’s Bury Free Press.

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