St Asaph flood heroines up for top award


Matt Jones

TWO care staff who waded through a flooded city to ensure elderly residents were safe are in line for a national award.

The Old Deanery, care home, was one of 400 properties affected when torrential rain caused the River Elwy in St Asaph to burst its banks nearly a year ago.

But thanks to the efforts of home manager Lisa Bowen and senior care assistant Jane Heath-Coleman all 21 residents, from age 70 to 98, stayed safe and dry.

Lisa and Jane are in the final of  the 2013 Wales Care Awards and are shortlisted in the Outstanding Service category, sponsored by Hallmark.

Lisa, 32, said: “The river is not far away from the Old Deanery, so my first thought was for the safety of our residents.

“I rang the home and spoke to the night staff but they weren’t really sure what was happening outside.

“I then called my mum and dad and they have a four-wheel-drive Range Rover, so we all piled in and headed immediately for St Asaph.

“The water was already very deep but I just knew I had to reach the home, so I left my mum and dad with the car while I waded in.

“It was really cold and the water was up to my waist but the adrenalin must have kicked in and I just kept going.

“Further along the road a firefighter shouted at me to stop because of the danger. But I told him who I was and that I was trying to reach the Old Deanery. He then led me the rest of the way there.”

This is the 11th anniversary of the awards, in association with Care Forum Wales, which will be held at City Hall in Cardiff on Friday, October 18.

35-year-old Jane, pushed through flooded gardens and borrowed two sets of ladders from home-owners to get to the Old Deanery.

Lisa said: “By about 8.30am the firemen, who were brilliant, had pumped out all the water and outside it looked like nothing had happened.

“I’ve never seen anything like the flooding before in my life but all the staff were incredible and just pulled together – it was the real Dunkirk spirit – and we are happy that not one drop of flood water reached our residents.”

Jane said: “For my part, I was just doing what I knew I had to do for the safety of our residents. It didn’t dawn on me I’d done anything special until the nomination came through. I’m very proud for myself and the whole team at the Old Deanery.

"I didn’t think about what I was doing at the time. I knew I had to get to the home to see the residents were alright because I wasn’t sure who else from the staff would manage to get there because the flooding was so bad.”

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