As the clean up operation after the recent flooding continues, stories of heroic individuals are continuing to emerge.
The latest has come from a local care provider with clients spread far and wide in rural areas throughout Devon. With red flood alerts in place for Saturday, 7 July staff at RV Care Somerset and Devon were unsure whether, or how, they would reach some of the vulnerable and elderly people who rely on their regular visits for care, help and support.
“The circumstances were exceptional,” said Clare Watson, branch manager for RV Care Somerset and Devon. “There were red flood alerts in place across the area with rain continuing to fall. A series of early morning phone calls revealed that the main concern of all staff wasn’t their own safety but that of their clients. Although we emphasised they shouldn’t do anything to put themselves at risk, every single one was determined that the clients should come first and planned visits must go ahead.” *
Carer Nikki Enticott wasn’t on the rota for the weekend. She, her husband and three young children had to be evacuated when their house was flooded but still Nikki gave up her day off to work tirelessly to ensure the safety of her clients.
- An elderly couple were stranded in their home surrounded by six feet of floodwater after police said they were unable to launch a rescue. Carer Sharon Chedzoy roped in a friend who owns a ‘monster truck’ to work with the fire brigade to remove the couple from the house. They were taken to Gittisham Hill Park near Honiton, a retirement village owned by RV Care’s umbrella company Retirement Villages Ltd. Their house did later flood.
- Amy Warwick used her Land Rover to visit clients in the Axminster and Seaton area, working from 6.30am to 4pm, well over her allotted shift.
- Team members Rae Merrygold, Alison Marler, Julie Gallin, Michelle Tisbury, Margaret Noton and Julia Wood co-ordinated client visits to Honiton and Ottery St Mary throughout the day. While delivering the care and help needed, they were also able to reassure clients and to make an assessment of likely danger so any necessary precautionary steps could be put in place.
“I am immensely proud of every member of the team who went way beyond the call of duty at a time of crisis for the whole area,” said Clare. Already a number of personal thank yous have been received by the team and the family of the rescued couple have pledged to write to every member to thank them for their ‘first class service’. Paul Walsh is the Managing Director, Care and Operations for Retirement Villages Ltd. He said: “Our team worked closely with emergency services, other professionals and personal contacts within the community to ensure the safety of our clients in very difficult circumstances. “The selfless dedication, professionalism and care they demonstrated was absolutely outstanding. RV Care strives to provide a first class service to every client but on this occasion I believe we exceeded every expectation.”