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13 November 2014

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You are in: Gloucestershire > Floods > The day it rained forever

Aerial shot looking south from flooded Tewkesbury

View south from above Tewkesbury

The day it rained forever

Hear reflections on the devastating summer floods of July 2007 and their aftermath, from those at the very heart of the crisis, in a special BBC Radio Gloucestershire documentary.

Friday July 20th 2007 was the day Gloucestershire's schools broke up for the summer holidays. So it was no real surprise when the county woke that morning to heavy rain and warnings of more torrential downpours on the way.

But no one dreamed that morning that Gloucestershire was on a brink of a truly devastating natural disaster. Or that this July deluge would make history by triggering the county's biggest ever peacetime emergency.

Flood victim Julie Irwin and daughter Alanya

Caravan life: Julie Irwin and daughter

No ordinary storm

Yet as the day wore on it became obvious that this was no ordinary storm, but extreme weather on a scale seldom seen in Britain.

In hours the relentless rain had left hundreds of homes and businesses under water, and thousands of drivers and travellers were stranded as road and rail routes were inundated by fast-rising flood waters.

But that was just the start. Soon the taps ran dry for half the county's population as a water treatment station on the outskirts of Tewkesbury was overwhelmed by the floods.

And emergency services faced a desperate battle to save the county's power supplies as the Walham electricity sub-station near Gloucester also threatened to fall victim to the rising flood-waters.

In this hour-long audio documentary, presented by Clare Parrack, flood victims and officials directly involved in dealing with the unfolding disaster reflect on the events of July 2007 and their aftermath. You can also hear how BBC Radio Gloucestershire reported the dramatic events as they happened. 

Tim Brain, Chief Constable of Gloucestershire and commander of Gold Control, the county's emergency management team, and Terry Standing, Chief Officer of Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue, recall their memories of the dramatic events - and the lessons they feel have been learned both locally and nationally.

Early morning use of a bowser

Bowsers became a familiar sight

And Hazel Lonsdale, chief executive of Cheltenham Volunteer Centre, pays tribute to the amazing community spirit that Gloucestershire people demonstrated during those difficult days.

It's resulted in the setting up of a new system called Making Minutes Matter which will make it easier for busy people to do voluntary work as and when they have the time. 

In the documentary flood victims share their feelings about the devastating emotional and practical consequences of seeing their homes ruined.

They include Julie Irwin, from Tewkesbury, who helped organise the Away In A Caravan Christmas card campaign to highlight the plight of flood victims still out of their damaged homes months after disaster struck, and Kelly Bartlett, who chairs a campaign group of residents who were flooded out in the Longlevens area of Gloucester.

In all 4000 homes and 500 businesses across Gloucestershire were affected by flooding.

The music featured in this documentary is from Washed Away, a CD by county-based Irish band Elysian that's donating 30 per cent of its profits to the Gloucestershire Flood Relief Fund. Paul O'Neill wrote the title track after his own family home in Chaceley was flooded out. 

last updated: 03/02/2009 at 13:02
created: 28/12/2007

Have Your Say

What are your thoughts and feelings about the summer floods of 2007 and their after-effects?

Bethany.Cawthrow
Madi is right! Why blame the government for the rain, it's not as if they can control that aswell. But they could have done more to help the flood victims, but all the victims just stood around waiting for help rather than getting of their asses and helping themselves get on with it.

georgia
The flooding in Tueksby was increadibly bad as I was there to Witness it, I was only 14 and was so scared. We together will beat Global Warming!

sarah
this site really helped me for my geog project, thnx !!xx

Alex
This really helped for my geography revision!

fiori kalaimaran
stp using so much of electrcity due to global warming

phoebe
just natures course

dan
i h8 floods alot of poeple were hurt

landy
this article would be more helpful to my school project if it had more statistics like how much it rained compared to average.but still quite helpful.

connor
i think the floods were devastating and i came up with the free school dinners

Charlie Harris
I am using this documentry to do a class project on these floods. It's really helped!

Paddy Hinds
Where there any effects toward the enivornment? I need some details to do my Geography HW

jacob few
it was absoulutly horrible and terrible

Megan
The day we broke up from school was halarious. Sure we moaned about the weather but we ran in the ran and just took it for what it was and just had fun. That's what summer is about. But sure enough we had to go to Manchester to stay with family a few days after until the water came back on. That last day was brilliant fun!

lucy appelton
im sooo upset ike it was just soo scary!

Dave
should of been more prepared.but still a sad story

Alice
Yeah i can remember this day, i was waiting ages for my bus in the rain..:(And when i got home my back garden was filled with water.

doodooo
we r studyin it 4 geog n i fink its really sad that peoples homes were destroyed!

Robyn
im doin my geog hw n dis really helped !! xx

Lauren Regan
this page brings back memories and it still seens so real this page helped with my homework tho thanksx

SOPHIE.
im doing a coursework essay on the floods in Gloucester, this page really help. :D

Jacob
This was a terriful flood and still people are being flooded shouldnt the government sort it out!!!

Paige and Conor
this was such a terrible thing that happened! its so horrible to see :(:(

ryan jones
devistating,, i felt really sad ;(x

charlotte
the school hols were rubbish wiv the floods and now in 2008 i have to do a newspaper page in my geography lessons grrrr i h8 it

chris waring
this is a great help to my geography coursework on the gloucestershire floods!! an experince i wont forget either

matthew skidmore
i think it was the devistating thing that has happend in glostshire.

natasha
thanks for that info

Katy Ingram from Rugby
Im doing a homework on Flooding in 2007 and this page really helped.

james
it was not nice

claire x.x
my deepiest thoughts to those who are involved in the floods

jamii robb
i feel that the floods distroyed everyone house and i felt like i must be lucky having water and electricity i felt very upset when i seen the state of peoples houses and the damages that the floods caused i was asking as many people as i could round to my house to was there clothes and have showers and drink fresh water.

charlotte
im doing a project and peice of corsework on the floods (Y) xx

PRIYA
I PRAY FOR THE PEOPLE!!

I Love Camels
Yo, The Floods Were Awful!I'm Just GLad I Only Had TO Cope With A Few days Of It Before I Went On Holiday!My Friend zooooozoooo It Was Her First Day Back ANd She Was TRapped In The FLoods! =O

Lucy
The riding stables I help at flooded. The little stream that ran past it burst its banks and everyone there had to get all the horses and ponies out really quick by wadding thourgh wasit hight water! When i got there the next morning all the bedding from the stables and muck from muck heap was all over the yard and we spent all day clearing it up. The the owners had to replace lots of horse feed to because the water got to and also buildings ect got damaged. I can't imagen what it it is like to have your home flooded...

jessica brompton
it was awful!!!!!!!!!!!!it rained for a week the tree got swept on top of the house.

henry parker
it was fun, but scairy. i look back and realise that although i lost a car in there it was a great family building experiance. hopefully it wont ha;ppen again.we were at oxtals and tryed thro go down the motorway which was near tenpin, as soon as we were on the motorway we could see water but it wasnt to deep, but then it got worse the engie stopped and we had to walk from oxtals to brockworth with a dog who reasently had stiches

laura
im very upset what had happened, but hopefully it would never happen again

Hannah
I thought the floodings were terrible and i am so lucky to live in an area where it wouldnt flood. I can't believe how much it cost either!!

stefan
i fink the flooding was really bad and very awful

me!!!!!!!!!!!
i feel really bad for the peoples houses that have been ruined by the flood and i also think its unfair that they are unable to get insurence to pay for the cost of there flooded house but thankfullly there are charitys and people trying to help.

jamie
can't they just have some huge sucky uppy thingy that collects the water and shares it into other lakes.

Niall
i was on holiday and they showed gloucster on the news in france it was quite creepy...

D. O'Hare
The Floods were awfull. Me and two friends couldn't get home from school so we had to stay at one of my friends mums friends house! Luckily they had kids aswell and it ended up more like a giant sleepover!!! When I got home the next day, I found my cellar flooded to the ceiling and my dad had got some oumps pumping the water out. Luckily the water went away in a few days but then we had the monster task of cleaning out the cellar from all the debri.I think that the worst thing about the flods was the fact that they were all on the last day of term. I mean, it's meant to be one of the best days of the year! :(

T. Patterson
I witnessed the flood with my partner, i was shocked at the devastating nature of the floods. i really do think the apocalypse is starting to occur.

Tom Hassall
We should all pray to God. This is a sighn that noah's arc is re occuring

Stuart Meech
My house was flooded in 2007 but this year my caravan got floated down the river until it got stuck in a tree.

George Crome
I lost my dog and my glasses in the flood. I was so unhappy. I have only just got my house back to normal. I pray to God everyday to set my life back on track.

Alix Beese
To James. That is the worst idea I have ever heard. Every day I need to commute to work and need my car for this as the railway is too unreliable in the area that I live in. Next time you put a comment, read a dictionary first, your spelling is appalling.

James
the floods have been realley bad in the past couple of years in England!! we need to start walking to places or getting a bus so that there is not alot of pulution going in the air!!! Please stop driving also i think that there should be a non driving day,where people are not aloud to drive

jacob harrell
it was realy anoying it took me 8 months to get into my home

Alix Beese
I live in an area that was flooded and recently we have been studying the floods in geography. I have noticed that there has been alot af rain recently from fronts in the same style as in July. Is anyone else terrified like me!!!

James Hatton
the 2007 floods were the worst floods ive ever seen

Mowster
i agree with beth, its no good sitting around waiting for people to help you, you could do something yourself

morphy
i agree with madi aswell

sumedh
the government are trying their best to try to defend us from flash floods.it is stupid blaming the government for the weather !but it is not entirly down to them the victims of the flood could stop moaning and get on with it in stead of waiting around doing nothing

Pubert
I personaly think it was do to global warming to be fare tally ho :D

Jon P
Abandoned my car, waded 3 miles to my home, nightmare or what! Never seen anything like it. I work in Ledbury, all routes home were blocked or slow moving. Was on the M50 and the water was rising rapidly, they closed the moterway shortly after I joined it! It was scary.Was going on holiday on Saturday, we did go and had a plentiful supply of water in Cornwall, I can't imagine what it was like without running water and electric with a family of 4!

oliver
i can't believe what has happend to all of tease poor people and i would just like to say that i hope they can moe back into there homes and never have to go through that again. but the people should have flood barriers that are for sale noe and they blame the goerment when what can they do!!!

melz
we had a small flood in our drive ,it didn't get anywhere near the door , but it was still horrid

lol
i fink it had devastating effects!!!!!!!!

oliver
how does this happen it in 2008 flooding

Josh King
very unfortunate

Michael Carruthers
If we withdrew unemployment and incapacity benefits we could use the saving to dredge our rivers. This would kill 2 birds with one stone as the excess water would have somewhere to run and the lazy bones amongst us would have to go and find work. The extra jobs would include river dredging. Simple!

Amy
Withdrawing incapacity benefits would mean "lazy bones" who are unable to work due to injury would have no money. Nice one.

jamie
that day was so sad and i was talking o a bus driver he said it wouldve taken four hours to get back

Joe
I live in Ramsgate, no floods here

John
It flooded in tetbury on July 20th by the ford it was scary! sorry to hear about tewkesbury

rachel
I completely agree with the acuusation Amy placed forward. Nice one indeed.

Minja Kelldridge
The flood was very unfortunate, but I'm in essex so was lucky enough to avoid it

Lauren Hughes
No Floods In Plymouth Just Very Bad Weather...Strong Gales And Heavy Rain... 12 degrees x

zara
they were pretty bad):

Laura
The flooding was bad.

Madi
the government are trying their best to try to defend us from flash floods.it is stupid blaming the government for the weather !but it is not entirly down to them the victims of the flood could stop moaning and get on with it in stead of waiting around doing nothing.

Jessica
My sympathy for those who suffered from the flooding.

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