Norfolk floods: Minister begins appeal for residents

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Media captionHelen Robinson said people had been very generous with their support

The MP for North Norfolk, Norman Lamb, has begun an appeal to help people badly affected by Thursday night's tidal surge.

The Liberal Democrat health minister has been visiting Walcott where parts of the sea wall were demolished and wooden buildings destroyed.

A major clear-up operation is under way after the biggest North Sea surge in 60 years hit the Norfolk coast.

Mr Lamb said he was contributing £100 to get the appeal started.

"Your heart goes out to people in this situation," he said.

"It's the run-up to Christmas and their homes are devastated."

'Amazingly kind'

He said he wanted the region to "rally round" to help any community in need.

"I think we can make a difference for them," he said.

The chalet and caravan belonging to Helen Robinson and her fiance in Walcott, were destroyed during the surge that caused destruction along the coast from Hunstanton to Lowestoft.

They had been unable to get insurance.

"People have been so amazingly kind," said Ms Robinson.

"We've been given clothes, coats... one guy we didn't know just walked up to us and gave us the contents of his wallet."

Image caption Cromer Pier was so badly damaged the Christmas show had to be cancelled

Jane Napp's home in the village was also destroyed on Thursday.

"I shall have to move out for the best part of a year... then I guess we just get back and try and get our lives together."

Seven cliff-top homes collapsed in Hemsby, where a former lifeboat station was washed into the sea.

On Monday, police said jewellery, watches a camcorder and a camera which had been salvaged from a bungalow before it fell into the sea had been stolen.

A shed used to store the belongings was broken into on The Marrams, Hemsby, between 22:00 GMT on Thursday - the night of the surge - and 11:30 GMT on Sunday.

Along the coast at Cromer, the diggers have moved in to clear the tons of sand and stone thrown on to the promenade by the sea.

On the pier the Pavilion theatre was badly affected by the surge, with the box office and shop all but destroyed.

Performances of the Christmas show have had to be cancelled but there are hopes they could restart as early as Thursday.

The leader of North Norfolk District Council, Tom Fitzpatrick, said the storm had given a "real battering" to Cromer and to places along the coast.

"Many beach huts have been washed away," he said. "But when people have lost their homes, they're further down the list of priorities."

Mr Fitzpatrick said there were skips at Walcott and environmental health officers on hand to help people.

The A143 at Haddiscoe has reopened after flood water subsided and the road was swept.

The Quay at Blakeney is expected to open later after an inspection.

Work is continuing on the B1159 Coast Road, Walcott, and the A149 Coast Road in Salthouse where excavators and lorries have been working since daylight to remove sand, silt and debris.

The appeal for residents affected by Thursday night's tidal surge is being administered by North Norfolk District Council.

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