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St Asaph: Royal sympathy

21 December 2012

FEW things can be more devastating - particularly just be-fore Christmas - than to have one's home flooded: with the destruction of treasured possessions, the long months of drying out and repair, the worry of insurance, and the fear that it could happen again. The recent floods were particularly severe in St Asaph, when the River Elwy burst its banks.

The torrential rains, together with the full moon bringing high tides had been too much for the flood defences, built after the floods of 50 years ago. Some 400 houses were affected, and, tragically, one elderly woman, who had been trying to get out of her flooded home, was found dead.

The water was quickly pumped away, the diocesan communications officer, Phil Topham, says, and the emergency and relief services worked enormously hard, as did all the clergy. And now the reality of the damage has hit home. There are people without insurance, or those who lost it when banks changed hands, and there are those who have nowhere to go and are living upstairs in their ruined houses.

People were particularly appreciative when Prince Charles visited the city, and showed real concern. He spent time with people in their damp and devastated homes; he visited workers in the fire service who had worked so hard to pump away the filthy water; and in St Asaph Cathedral (above) he met victims of the flooding, and some of the many volunteers and members of the relief organisations, including the lifeboat men of the RNLI, the Red Cross, and secondary-school children.

The Dean, the Very Revd Nigel Williams, said how pleased everyone was that the Prince had visited. "He was with us in our joy when we received city status, and now he has come alongside us in our sorrow - this has made a vast difference to people of this community. He's got a deep sense of concern for the individuals who have been affected, especially the fact that these floods have gone through people's homes. People are glad that he's been to the affected areas and that has been very well received."

It is known that the Prince made a contribution to the Mayor's relief fund, which the Church is also supporting.

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