Help in flood crisis

Summer Floods 2007

Volunteers from St John Ambulance Northumbria came forward in their droves as severe flooding ravaged the North East of England.

As the call for help was sounded, dozens of St John Ambulance members rallied to help as people were forced to abandon their homes to the rising water.

Lynn Horrocks, the County Commissioner, who managed the volunteers’ involvement alongside Operations Co-ordinator John Purvis, said: 'Within half an hour of being asked to provide backup for the local councils and the ambulance service, we had 30 volunteers standing by, a team manning a rescue centre in County Hall, Morpeth, and three ambulance crews working alongside the North East Ambulance Service, dealing with casualties across the county.

'The rain was astonishing – like a monsoon – and the floods were wide ranging affecting hundreds of homes in Morpeth, Corbridge, Ponteland, into Newcastle, and all the towns and villages along the rivers and low lying areas in between.'

It was an excellent response and our members were amazing. They are often overlooked as they quietly go about their duties, but they worked extremely hard for many hours, helping the community at a time of great need.

Lynn Horrocks
County Commissioner

Lynn said the volunteers were part of a huge emergency operation working around the clock throughout the weekend, and were now standing by for more work with further severe rain forecast for later this week.

'We had a team in a minibus who were called to help evacuate an old people’s home,' Lynn said.

'Two centres were set up for people who were forced out of their homes, and some are still using them because they have no electricity in their houses. We were responsible for manning one of the centres, working alongside volunteers from the Salvation Army, and at the height of the crisis we were looking after 50 people at a time who were suffering from the cold and wet and from shock.

'Our ambulance crews were kept extremely busy and hampered by roads blocked by the water. But our members were fantastic – they dropped whatever they were doing and rallied to help.

'It was an excellent response and our members were amazing. They are often overlooked as they quietly go about their duties, but they worked extremely hard for many hours, helping the community at a time of great need.'