A kind Samaritan stepped in to help a Fenland church after part of its basement became flooded during the recent heavy rainfall.
A disused boiler room under the vestry at St Peter’s Church in Wimblington was left swimming in about four or five feet of water after the weekend’s deluge and Peter James, churchwarden, was concerned for the fabric of the Victorian building.
“We had flooding about five years ago and the insurance company investigated the cause and found the Victorian-built drain had collapsed under the graves in the churchyard,” said Peter.
The location of the collapsed drain made it difficult for repairs or replacement and so it was only partly fixed. As a result the church installed a pump in the old boiler room, which is accessible only from outside the church.
“It has worked fine and we have been flood free since the pump was installed until the weekend. The amount of rain proved just too much and the pump was simply unable to cope. As a result the room, which lies beneath the church vestry filled with water. I’m no professional but having flooding of any sort cannot be good for a building, particularly one as old as the church,” said Peter.
An SOS made via Facebook saw Chris Brandon from March volunteer his services and he pumped the water away - a difficult task because it could not simply be pumped into the churchyard.
However, further rain on Monday saw the water return with a vengeance by this morning (Wednesday) and Peter was once again panicking about the potential damage it might cause.
“Chris was brilliant coming out and pumping the water away and he offered to come out again if needed - and unfortunately he is. The churchyard is also waterlogged so I think it could take a few pump-outs yet before we’re in the clear.
“I don’t think there is much we can do to stop it happening again if we have the same amount of rain. A larger pump won’t make much difference because unfortunately the rain water has nowhere to drain and so simply runs into the old boiler room.
“We are just so grateful to Chris for volunteering his commercial size pump and his time to help clear the water, which we are now having to pump through a length of temporary pipe to a drain on the road as there is nowhere else it can go.
“We don’t actually know where the collapsed drain fed out to, and because it is so deep compared to the drains under the road, even if we knew we would not be able to link it up. We just have to hope we don’t get rain like we have had recently again - or at least not for a few more years,” added Peter.