Nine months for home flood repairs

Billy Howard in his home
Billy Howard in his home
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A couple battling ill health face a long wait before they can return to their flood-damaged home.

Billy and Barbara Howard have lived in Croston, near Chorley, for 44 years.

But the couple, who have three sons and four grandchildren, will be spending a large part of 2016 away from the village, as they are living in a rented property in Euxton after their house on Riverside Crescent flooded.

Water poured into their home on Boxing Day as Billy, who has melanoma, was recovering from undergoing surgery just days earlier.

Barbara, 64, was already battling bowel cancer and has suffered a stroke since the floods.

Friends and relatives went to the Howards’ home on Boxing Day to help them lift the furniture, but they did not expect the water to be as deep as three feet.

Billy, 67, said: “It was quite heartbreaking. There was nothing we could do but stand on the stairs and look down.”

The ground floor of the couple’s home was devastated, with the kitchen, living room, conservatory and other rooms under water.

All kinds of items were destroyed, from white goods to sentimental items from relatives. Two cars parked outside were also ruined.

There is a lot of work to be done but fortunately they are insured.

It could be six to nine months before they are able to return home.

“The guy who came to look after everything thinks it’s going to cost around £100,000, which is a lot of money,” Billy said.

The Howards’ home also flooded in 1987, when six to nine inches of water got inside, but Billy said it was much worse on Boxing Day.

“Nobody has experienced anything like this before,” he said. “People flooded who have never been flooded before. We never expected it to be as high as this.”