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King’s Lynn fireman praises Yorkshire’s resilience

A Lynn fire station manager is calling for flood relief to become a statutory duty for the service after spending the Christmas period helping victims in Yorkshire.

Bob Ayres was deployed up to Leeds and York on Boxing Day along with a Norfolk boat team to help with the heart-breaking aftermath of Storm Eva.

Yorkshire was battered by 80mph winds and heavy rainfall which produced the worst flooding in parts of the region since the Second World War.

Over the four-day period, Mr Ayres provided tactical support along with overseeing the rescue of a family trapped in a partly submerged car.

In 2013, Mr Ayres was called down to help with the flooding in Berkshire.

He believes flooding will place more a demand on the fire service in the future.

Mr Ayres said: “It would be nice to see it as a statutory duty for the fire service and for funding to be provided to enable to provide responses especially in times of cuts across public services.

“It would make things a lot easier.”

Mr Ayres was initially based in the Leeds area when he helped to advise the command team on what national assets were available.

But when the floods began to batter York, Mr Ayres and the Norfolk team were then drafted over.

The boat team helped district nurses and carers reach people who were trapped in their homes.

Mr Ayres also oversaw the rescue of a family whose car was partly submerged on a road below a railway bridge.

Firefighters were able to wade in and bring out the two adults and two children on a sledge. Mr Ayres said: “The children’s faces were beaming as they came out of the tunnel.”

Mr Ayres and his team also helped to rescue the a German family who were spending Christmas on the York riverfront. The family had stayed as long as possible but dialed 999 when the flood water became too high.

They also rescued a chef who had stayed in his restaurant.

Mr Ayres has praised the community in Yorkshire for their resilience.

He said: “The community spirit was fantastic. Everywhere we went we were welcomed with open arms. They were so pleased to see us.

“The people were very resilient with how they were coping with it.

“There is no good time for flooding to happen but it is particularly difficult at this time. Many were in good spirits.”

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