A FAMILY-of-12 and their dog were dramatically rescued after being stranded in a Worcestershire holiday cottage for a week surrounded by rising flood water.
Three-generations of the Hughes family, had come from as far as Yorkshire and Gatwick to enjoy a family Christmas in a holiday cottage in Uckinghall, near Upton, last Sunday.
But when the cottage, in Ferry Lane, quickly became surrounded by up to eight feet of water following the heavy rain, the voluntary West Midlands Search and Rescue Service (WMSAR) were called.
The voluntary rescue service was called on Saturday and rescued the family and their luggage using two boats.
Crew member Anne Sturman said the family became stranded after the flood barriers went up.
“The cottage was on a little island along with all their vehicles which were stranded by the water,” she said.
“We were asked by the fire brigade if we could attend the evacuation of 12 people and a dog on Saturday. The river had burst its banks and the cottage is near the river.”
Paul Matthews, landlord of the Railway Inn in Ripple, chauffeured the family and their luggage to the pub in his car so they could call other family members to collect them and gave them hot drinks.
“The family was very relieved to be back on dry land,” he said. “The kids were quite distressed but obviously very happy to be back. They just wanted to get home.
“After having a Christmas like that you can imagine wasn’t the best especially having family from all over the country.
“I know the elderly family members found it hard. A couple were diabetic. It was quite a worry.
“I love helping people. I think it’s all part of the community spirit which we have in our village.”
Judy Gibson, chairman of the Uckinhall Flood Action Group, who alerted the rescue team, said: “They weren’t in danger of the water getting in the house but they couldn’t go anywhere. They were stuck in the middle of a lake on an island.
“I think they were exceedingly relieved.”
While the family were stranded, a neighbour kept the family from going hungry by bringing them food and water on his boat.
Simon Hughes, aged 44, who lives in Melksham, Wiltshire, was one of the family members who had to be rescued along with his two young sons.
“We were going stir crazy by that point,” he said. “A couple of us had been out of the house with one of the neighbours in the boat but the majority hadn’t left the house.
“I have to commend the WMSAR. They were extremely efficient and well organised. High praise to them especially to the volunteers they were excellent. It was a welcome sight to see dry land.”