Flood claims first victim - Tiddles the cat
PUBLISHED: 12:11 11 November 2008 | UPDATED: 22:35 15 June 2010
DEVASTATED residents and families in Ottery and its surrounding areas have taken the first steps on the long road back to normality this week.
DEVASTATED residents and families in Ottery and its surrounding areas have taken the first steps on the long road back to normality this week. The Bell family, of Thorne Farm Way, are indicative of many throughout the town in their experience and the effects unexpected flooding has had on them. Doug Bell and his wife Sabine were shocked at the damage left by flood water which has wrecked the downstairs of their home. Despite the material damage, Mrs Bell said the greatest loss was the death of the family's 18-year-old cat Tiddles, who drowned in their garage. Mr and Mrs Bell's 15-year-old daughter, Natalie, returned from holiday to the devastation on Friday, while her brother Michael spent his 13th birthday shovelling hail.Mr Bell, who was up at 4am on Friday to clear the mess in his front garden, said: "I couldn't sleep for thinking about the clean-up. My lad has been a star, he has spent the last four days shovelling snow and cleaning up and hasn't said a word."We were struggling on Thursday, lots of camera crews, reporters and officials were all smiling and looking for photographs but no one stayed."We were dreading Friday, thinking it was going to be another tough day, but luckily the help finally managed to get in. Mr Bell said: "Now that most of the debris has gone, people are starting to take the long road back to normaility. It has been a long series of phone calls with insurance companies and we have been a bit shell-shocked but the street is on the first steps of an upward curve, it will be a long haul. It will be into next year at the earliest before everything is back to normal for us. "Some people have to move out for quite a long time. We are waiting to be told if we need to but I will refuse if that is the case. It would be too difficult with the day to day job, home life, and bringing up kids who are doing exams. Everything has to dry out, we are waiting for heaters to come in for two to three weeks."For us it is not as bad as for some people and we just have to try and help others through it. "We are a close community, we go in to help when people are struggling because they are our neighbours, it is the mentality in this street and all over Ottery, you help everybody.
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