Fishlake floods: Stranded residents helped by community heroes

Image caption,
The owners of the Hare and Hounds, Angie and Scott Godfrey, have offered people food and shelter

People in and around a flooded village in South Yorkshire have pulled together to help stranded residents.

Driving a 32-year-old Land Rover through several feet of flood water, Steve McCarthy helped ferry people and vital supplies around Fishlake.

He and his teenage sons rescued an 85-year-old woman from her home, taking her to the Hare and Hounds pub which has opened up as a refuge.

The 44-year-old bus driver said he wanted to do what he could to help.

"Somebody put a request out on Facebook for people with 4x4 vehicles to help, and as my son has a Land Rover Defender, we went up to see what we could do.

"We started at about 10 o'clock on Saturday, finishing about 10.30 at night. At one point I was waist-deep in water."

Mr McCarthy, who lives in nearby Stainforth, collected food, bedding, fresh water and hygiene products donated by a local Asda supermarket, before taking them to those in need.

"Then it started coming in from other supermarkets," he said.

"Chip shops, takeaways, all over the place. We were sending big pans of curries down to Fishlake - one from the Mumbai restaurant to the Hare and Hounds pub late at night."

He was helped by sons Jack, 19, who owns the Land Rover, and 17-year-old Ben.

Image source, Steve McCarthy
Image caption,
Steve McCarthy and his son Ben came to help from nearby Stainforth

The owners of the Hare and Hounds, Angie and Scott Godfrey, opened their premises for people to sleep and get a hot meal.

The couple were name-checked by ex-Labour leader Ed Miliband when he visited the flood-hit area on Saturday - helped in the Land Rover by the McCarthys.

Four-wheel drive or boat is the only means of transport in parts of the village, where severe flood warnings remain in place around the River Don.

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Speaking about the stranded congregating at the pub, Mrs Godfrey said: "The first night everyone was devastated, absolutely devastated.

"We had grown men crying, which was horrific, but spirits have lifted now."

Claire Holling, who runs the Old Butchers cafe, said many people spent Saturday night in the Hare and Hounds or in the church.

She said the pub and her cafe had become the centre of a community pulling together to get through.

Image source, Steve McCarthy
Image caption,
Steve McCarthy was waist-deep in water during the rescue efforts

"I just managed to get here on the back of a tractor and I live in the village," she said.

"We've opened up and we're making sure everyone has bacon and sausage sandwiches and a warm settee to sit on. It's getting quite full in here now.

"Everyone's pulling together and making sure vulnerable people are being looked after."

The council was urging people in Fishlake to leave on Monday, as more rain is forecast.

Residents of Fishlake said it was the first time the village had flooded in 100 years.

A yellow warning for rain remains in place over parts of Yorkshire and the East Midlands on Monday.

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