Flood waters cause chaos across Warwick

editorial image

THE weekend flooding in Warwick left a trail of devestation as well as a “keep calm and carry on” spirit among staff at the town’s Saxon Mill bar and restaurant.

But there was nothing calm about greyhound trainer Craig Andrews whose 75-year-old mother, along with 50 dogs, had to be rescued from the old Warwick Stadium, off Portabello Way late on Thursday night.

Mr Andrews, aged 46, who is licensed to use the former flapping track for training and kennels said: “This has finished my business in Warwick - I have now relocated all the dogs to Redditch.”

As floodwaters from both the Rivers Avon and Leam rose around them, Mr Andrews’ mother, Kathleen, who had just had a knee operation, was advised she needed to return to hospital but could not risk infecting her leg by wading out to safety.

Instead she and her husband Trevor, also aged 75, who had been spending the night in the bar area of the disused stadium, were advised to wait for the emergency services to arrive with an inflatable walkway at about 11.30pm.

By that time Craig Andrews and his girlfriend Suzanne Tongue, had led 15 of the dogs through the rising waters. The other 35 scrambled across the inflatable and were given overnight refuge at the Coventry Greyhound track in Brandon.

Mr Andrews said: “The Warwick track flooded about four years ago and cost me £10,000 to replace the sand. I can’t do that again. Thanks to friends at the Coventry Stadium I was given temporary accommodation for the dogs but none of them was able to run at the weekend which cost me a lot of lost revenue. I’ve now decided there is no alternative but to finish my business in Warwick.”

At the historic Saxon Mill on the Avon manager Tommy Thompson hopes the River Bar and main restaurant will be open again this weekend.

He had to close the rear River Bar on Thursday night as staff moved fast to move tables, chairs and fridges from the lower levels and set up a temporary restaurant in the function room above the front bar.

Mr Thompson said: “We are completely disinfecting the bar and will make it absolutely spotless before reopening at the weekend. The staff have all rolled up their sleeves and helped.”

At Warwick Castle the river island - used for jousting displays in the summer - was completely swamped along with all the neighbouring fields.

Manager Tim Harrison-Jones said: “The views from our towers and ramparts across the surrounding countryside really reminded us of the power of nature.

“We’re closely monitoring weather forecasts - local people have told us that the river level has not been at its current height for several years.”

Last Saturday firefighters across the county received a total of 80 calls for help and rescued 13 people, mainly trapped in cars.

On Sunday they received another 34 calls and rescued four more people including three sitting on top of their 4x4 car at Preson Bagot. Even on Tuesday a driver had to be rescued from a car, but that was in Bedworth in the north of the county.