A woman’s childhood home was devastated by flooding during Storm Babet just months after she moved in following a £40,000 renovation.
Vicky Hallam, from Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, spent a year restoring her home, previously owned by her mother who died two years ago, and has been left “devastated” and “heartbroken” by the destruction.
The NHS rehabilitation support worker moved into the property just two months ago after spending more than £40,000 on the restoration.
Ms Hallam, 63, told the PA news agency: “I had an estate agent out on Friday morning… She took all the pictures of (my home) and she said, ‘I can’t believe what you’ve done to it. It’s absolutely beautiful. I love it, you’ve made such a good job with it’.
“Then within an hour and a half after that it was underwater.”
She feared the worst when floodwater rushed into her home and reached her waist.
“My furniture was floating around and I’ve got my microwave in my arms and stuff was hitting my legs, and I got frightened,” she said.
“I thought, because I’ve got a balance problem, and if something knocked me over and then something hits me on the head, I’m going to drown.”
Her renovation included rewiring and replastering the home as well as building a new bathroom and kitchen.
“(I’m) devastated. There’s just no words, there’s nothing. I’m absolutely heartbroken,” Ms Hallam said.
“It’s my childhood home. We lost my mom two years ago and I decided I wanted to come back here and I couldn’t bear the thought of someone else living in it.”
Ms Hallam, who is now staying with her sister, said she has “no other choice” but to renovate her childhood home again after selling her old house and spending the inheritance she received following her mother’s death.
Her daughter, Emily Elmer, 29, has launched an appeal on GoFundMe hoping to raise £1,000 to help her mother to rebuild her life.
“I just spent everything I’ve got, all my inheritance and I have no idea what I would do without (the fundraiser),” the rehabilitation support worker said.
Ms Hallam, who lives in Greenwood Vale, Hucknall, said it was her first time seeing severe flooding in her area.
She explained: “It had been my home and it flooded when I was 14, but nothing on this scale.”
“Where most of the water came from, which was up Greenwood Vale, it’s never as much as been a puddle up there before, but it was coming down there like a river.”
Ms Hallam claimed that floodgates located in Dob Park, which is around a five-minute walk from where she lives, were not closed to stop the floodwater running into the neighbourhood.
She has urged Ashfield District Council to provide answers about why her area was most affected and why the floodgates were not shut sooner.
She said: “I’d like to know what happened, why it happened, and what (the council) is going to do to stop it from happening in the future and who’s responsible for those floodgates.”
John Wilmott, ward councillor for Hucknall North, told PA that around 40 properties were affected by the flooding and that environment teams will visit homes to remove damaged furniture and debris.
He said: “Our housing teams and community protection officers have been visiting tenants and private properties to identify any immediate risks or urgent needs.
“To further assist, Ashfield District Council will be providing a roving waste collection team to targeted streets in Hucknall to allow flood-affected properties to dispose of damaged furniture, this Saturday between 7am–11am.
“We will also be sending letters out to all properties with support and guidance on what their next steps are.
“Ashfield District Council is committed to supporting our residents through this traumatic time and we will continue to provide guidance, advice and support.”
For more information on the fundraiser, visit gofundme.com/f/repairing-my-mums-flooded-home.