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River Avon sunken houseboat owner helped by fundraiser

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image captionJames Stewart-Wigley's houseboat sank after water levels suddenly dropped by nearly two metres on the River Avon

Thousands of pounds have been raised for a houseboat owner whose boat sank after water levels suddenly dropped by nearly two metres on the River Avon.

A section of the river near Bath was accidently drained on Tuesday after a faulty sluice gate "suddenly opened".

James Stewart-Wigley, who was onboard at the time, could only save his dogs and a laptop as his boat got stuck on the bank and started taking on water.

A GoFundMe page to help him "back on his feet" has raised more than £2,500.

The Environment Agency said a "number of boats" sank after the water level dropped by about 5'9'' ft (1.8m) due to a fault in the software that operates a vertical sluice gate.

The agency is currently in the process of slowly raising the water levels and restoring the level of the River Avon.

image copyrightHannahbella Nel
image captionMr Stewart-Wigley could only save his dogs and a laptop as his boat got stuck on the bank and started taking on water
image captionA section of the river near Bath was accidently drained on Tuesday after a faulty sluice gate "suddenly opened"

Friends Hannahbella Nel, who set up the fundraising page to help Mr Stewart-Wigley get "back on his feet", said it was "absolutely heartbreaking" seeing his sunken boat.

"He has lost everything. All his worldly belongings, family treasures and his home were under water," she said.

"He was made homeless and all he had was a pair of shorts and two t-shirts."

She launched it on Thursday and by Friday the appeal had already raised more than £2,500.

"His boat is afloat now but it's horrendous, it smells, there's clay on everything and there's still a couple of inches of water in the main cabin," she added.

"But it is amazing, he was completely blown away with the kindness and generosity."

Related Topics

  • UK canals
  • Bath
  • Environment Agency

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