'Heartbreak' as Long Whatton home flooded for third time

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Media caption,

Homes in Long Whatton were flooded in November by water running off the nearby fields

A woman says she is "heartbroken" after a number of "irreplaceable" photos and diaries were lost when her house flooded for a third time.

Water surged through Sarah Brackstone's home in Long Whatton last month.

Ms Brackstone said the house flooded in 1999, when she was not living there, and in 2012.

She and 13-year-old son George are now preparing to spend three months restricted to the upstairs of the house while it is repaired.

Image caption,
Sarah Brackstone's home also flooded in 2012

Staff from English Rural Housing Association, which owns the Leicestershire property, are due to start work on 6 January.

It is expected to take about three months as workers are going to be fixing four other flood-damaged homes in the area at the same time.

Ms Brackstone said: "We've got 2020 on its way, so we're going to put 2019 behind us and have a good Christmas with the family at my mum's."

Image source, Sarah Brackstone
Image caption,
Ms Brackstone's neighbours suffered similar levels of flooding

Ms Brackstone said she lost "an awful lot of belongings" in the flooding.

"It was like a tidal wave had gone through the house... water just surged in through the front and back," she said.

It soaked a number of sentimental items, including a diary kept by her great-uncle during World War Two.

Black and white family photos and scrapbooks she made with George were also damaged.

The discovery of some ruined family postcards was especially "heartbreaking" for her.

Image caption,
Some furniture was ruined in the flooding but Ms Brackstone said the loss of sentimental items was worse

Some kitchen appliances and furniture also needed to be replaced, which Ms Brackstone said was much more difficult as she does not have contents insurance.

She said: "We just couldn't afford it and I don't think they would have insured us anyway because the house flooded in 2012 and in 1999."

A "disturbance allowance" from the association means the family has started getting £30 a day.

Ms Brackstone says she has also had a lot of help from neighbours, including a free fridge-freezer and a £50 church donation.

Image caption,
Flood water was about a foot deep in the downstairs of Ms Brackstone's house

A spokesman for English Rural Housing Association said the family were offered alternative accommodation, adding the payments were given because they had chosen to stay at home.

"Consideration is also being given to how homes can be better protected to the future risk of flooding, which has been identified as an issue widely across the village of Long Whatton.

"We are continuing to work with and support residents during what we appreciate is a stressful and upsetting time," the spokesman added.

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