Pensioners victim to Christmas storms

The Pepper family's roof damage caused by high winds.'Withyham Road, Bexhill. 30/12/13
The Pepper family's roof damage caused by high winds.'Withyham Road, Bexhill. 30/12/13

Local victims of stormy weather include a Cooden couple who had part of their roof blown off - and they have been dealing with flooding ever since.

John Pepper, 92, of Withyham Road heard a sudden bang upstairs on the night of Sunday December 22 which turned out to be a section torn back letting rainwater pour inside.

“I heard it go,” said John, “but didn’t know what it was.”

They found out next day and since then his wife Betty, 88, has been taking buckets upstairs to stop further leaks.

John said: “It has done a lot of damage, and we have been worried about the water - it has flooded over half of the house. We have the bedroom upstairs which has been flooded. My wife has been collecting the water in buckets and disposing of it but she was so worried yesterday that she even took recycle bins up to collect water in. She is terribly worried. We had the builder in but he can’t do anything until there is decent weather.

“It didn’t ruin Christmas because we weren’t going anywhere, but it wasn’t quite the same, with going and getting buckets all the time.”

Apart from wind and rain this has been a difficult time for many who lost electricity but UK Power Networks says it has restored power to all but a few remaining properties. Thousands of homeowners in the South East lost power, but engineers quickly restored supplies and most were back by Christmas Day.

Director of customer services Matt Rudling said: “UK Power Networks’ staff have pulled together to help customers wherever possible after the worst Christmas weather in years caused widespread damage to power lines in the South East meaning it has taken longer than we wanted to reconnect supplies. The welfare of our customers has been a priority as we tried to keep people informed and supported wherever possible.

We will write to all customers who are eligible for payments by the end of next week. Please allow for possible Christmas and New Year post delays. As a gesture of goodwill UK Power Networks has decided to boost the industry standard payment from £27 to £75 for customers who are without power for 48-60 hours including Christmas Day, and additional payments will be made to any customers off supply for longer.”

Customers can call 0800 783 8866 for advice.