UK & World News
Flood Victims Helped By 'Best Of British'
Hundreds of volunteers who have rallied to the cause of families suffering in the wake of major flooding have been hailed by the Prime Minister as the "best of British".
Many of those in the worst-affected areas complained about the lack of official action to prevent the floods - and public bodies' failure to respond faster.
And as they waited for the army and other assistance to arrive, some Britons took matters into their own hands.
Former coastguard Mark Jones travelled from his home in Portsmouth to assist the people of Wraysbury, one of the most badly hit parts of Berkshire.
"I've been, like everybody else, watching this on the news and seeing very little being done," he told Sky News.
"I learned skills as a coastguard and just thought I could put them to use up here.
"If it wasn't for the locals and the likes of us that are out just trying to help, I'm not sure what would be happening tonight, I really don't. It's shocking really. You know, this is Great Britain. What's happened to it?"
Resident Tim Fitzgerald was among those grateful for the intervention of Mr Jones and other volunteers.
"This is where we live, this is what we work for, these are our homes," he said.
"These nice, kind people have come from Portsmouth to assist us. We've had no communication from the Environment Agency, we had no communication from anybody."
Su Burrows, who later confronted Defence Secretary Philip Hammond over the speed of the official response, had spent most of the night trying to help.
"It wasn't the Environment Agency, it was me banging on people's doors from seven o'clock this morning, telling people to move their cars.
"We ourselves as volunteers - we're residents, we live here - have had a rota. We've been evacuating people through the night.
"I don't understand why people don't realise we, the residents, have got a team of people in their dry suits coming down ... and we're going down to places that are very dangerous, over waders, to get people out in the dark."
She later said volunteers were "working together" with the fire brigade, police and military to help flood victims.
Hobbs of Henley runs river tours throughout the spring and summer months but have been kept busy helping people affected by the weather.
"We've gone to the rescue of a few people. We helped the lock keeper, we rescued some of his furniture and we're just going to head upstream soon to help another person whose boat is sinking," managing director Jonathan Hobbs told Sky News.
Speaking after a trip to the South West, David Cameron said he had seen "inspiring" examples of community spirit.
"People I met like Sheila Mayne, who worked at the rescue centre in Dawlish serving tea to displaced families during the evacuation," he said.
"Storm Wallis, who organised community clear-ups of Chesil Beach through Facebook; and Jackie Breakspear and Amanda Broughton-South, the joint landladies of the Cove House Inn in Chiswell, who helped pull their community through an extraordinary storm as waves lashed against their pub.
"Amidst all, of this as is so often the case, in the toughest of times we are seeing the best of Britain."
Also doing her bit is volunteer Gillie Bolton, a resident of flood-hit Ham Island, who has been working around the clock to keep her community together.
Among those grateful for her efforts is fellow local, David Kidd, who said: "Our big problem is the Jubilee River (a channel built to take overflow from the Thames).
"We're right at the bottom of it. It just seems to be opened without any controls. If you go up to Maidenhead you'll see the river is well below the bank.
"Gillie the flood warden has been fantastic. Running around making sure everyone is all right and chasing up sandbags. She has a 24-hour job at the moment."
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