IT was a case of Operation Noah's Ark for a Callow End pensioner forced to evacuate her house with her menagerie of pets last week.

Mrs Anne Barthram made her escape with Cairn terriers Fudge and Truffles, Pippa the Jack Russell, Boris the cat, Sammy the mina bird and Chloe the cockatiel as sewage-laden floodwater lapped at her Beauchamp Lane bungalow.

All seven were given shelter on Friday and Saturday nights in St Mary's guest house at Stanbrook Abbey.

"We have a very strict 'no animals' rule but we made an exception because of the circumstances, " said Sister Philippa, who runs the guest house. "The birds were quite vocal. The mina bird wolf whistles and the cockatiel has a pretty good line in whistling as well.

"Our other guests were super, helping to take the dogs out at night."

Coun Tom Wells arranged the temporary accommodation for Mrs Barthram and her pets as flood water filled her front porch.

"He was absolutely marvellous. Without him I would have been swimming," said Mrs Barthram, aged 67, whose sons came from Reading and Newbury to help her move out.

She also paid tribute to her neighbours who cleaned up the mess around the house, Mrs Gwen Mason, of Upper Ferry Lane, who walked her dogs home on Sunday and the cook from St Mary's, who gave her a lift back with her other pets.