Family pay tribute to grandmother, 91, found dead in flooded home as witness claims she refused to leave fearing her breakfast would get coldMargaret Hughes would have celebrated her 92nd birthday tomorrow
She was found dead in her flooded home in St Asaph, North Wales, yesterdayNeighbours say she did not want to leave because she was eating breakfast and was warm inside her home
The family of the grandmother said she was 'still very much full of life'
23:59 GMT, 28 November 2012
Full of life: The family of Margaret Hughes, pictured, said she was 'strong willed with a real sense of humour'
The family of a grandmother who died just days before her 92nd birthday when her bungalow flooded described her today as 'very active' and said she was looking forward to Christmas.
Margaret Hughes was found dead on Tuesday after flood water rushed into her home in St Asaph, North Wales.
Neighbours said the grandmother remained in her home when the River Elwy burst its banks despite pleas for her to evacuate.
Some 500 properties were flooded when the tiny city was left under 5ft of water.
Mrs Hughes, who would have celebrated her birthday tomorrow, was found dead by rescuers who were checking homes in St Asaph.
Yesterday, the family of Mrs Hughes, who was known as Maggie, said they have been 'devastated' by her death.
The statement, on behalf of her daughter, four grandsons and granddaughter, said: 'She was still very much full of life.
'She was very active and strong willed with a real sense of humour and fun and she had been looking forward to Christmas.
'She was very active and loved nothing more than entertaining her grandchildren and great grandchildren with cups of tea and mince pies with which she would overwhelm them particularly at Christmas.
'Maggie came from an old stock of Welsh farmers, she spent most of her early life working on farms.
'And she enjoyed taking long walks and would go out collecting firewood well into her eighties.'
Mrs Hughes, a widow, moved to her home in St Asaph after her farmer husband died.
Neighbour Steven Green said he pleaded with Mrs Hughes to leave her home as the flood waters began to rise.
Homes: Margaret Hughes was found dead in her flooded bungalow, pictured, when the water reached above the post box on her raised front door
Mr Green, who was staying at his parent’s home when the river burst, said he asked her in Welsh to leave but she said she did not want to leave her breakfast.
He said: ‘At that time the water was two or three inches below her feet. She refused to leave her home because her breakfast would go cold. But, no one really expected the water to rise so quickly and when it did it was constantly on my mind she was still in there.
‘Unfortunately, a few hours later she was found dead. It was inevitable because the water was so cold and to such a height it was an inevitability that an old lade like that would die in those conditions.’
He said in hindsight he should have ‘insisted’ she evacuate.
Mr Green, who works as a banker in the Phillipines, added: ‘But you know she was an old lady and she was eating her breakfast and that was the main concern; that she was in the middle of her breakfast and she didn't want to leave it. She had the fire on and she was warm and cosy and didn't want to go out into the elements because she thought she would escape it but unfortunately she didn't.
‘I've lived here since I was ten years old and have known her for eighteen years and seen her most days and it's very, very sad.’
Pleaded: Steven Green said Margaret Hughes refused to leave her house when he called round because she did not want her breakfast to go cold
Under water: Aeriel photographs show the extent of the flooding in St Asaph after the River Elwy burst its banks
Big deal: Loaves of bread and teabags are awash in a flooded grocery store
Neighbour Charlie Telford, who also lives in the Tai'r Felin bungalows, said he and his wife Margaret left as the waters rose.
He said: ‘It was eight o’clock in the morning and we were just having a coffee.
'I looked out of the window and somebody was carrying a lady across. The water was about a foot deep outside and so I said to my wife come on we'll have to get our Wellingtons on.
'We got them on and went straight out and that's all we could do we had to leave everything.
'I left my canary in the cage and rescued my little Jack Russell terrier and we managed to drive the car because it was only just over a foot deep then. We took the dog with us and we've just been back for the canary but someone's taken it to the refuge centre.
'Margaret lived next door but one to us and she was a lovely lady.’
Under water: Roads became rivers in St Asaph as waters reached 5ft high at its peak and homes and businesses were submerged
Evacuated: RNLI crews rescue residents from their flooded homes in St Asaph. The high waters also closed roads, leaving some communities virtually cut off
Country-wide: Crews from Gloucestershire fire and rescue service check isolated properties along the river Severn near Tirley, Gloucestershire. At least 900 homes have been evacuated because of flooding in recent days
Neighbour Mandy Williams said: 'She was looking forward to going shopping for her birthday.
'She always had a lovely word to say to people. She used to go to the coffee mornings every Wednesday.
'It's very tragic, just so sad.
'I was with her poor daughter for two hours yesterday while she waited for news of her mother.
'When I heard what had happened, it was awful.'
Mrs Hughes was one of four people to have been killed in the recent floods.
Days of torrential rain have flooded roads and more than 900 homes.
Saturday, a 21-year-old woman was killed by falling tree in Exeter and a
50-year-old man died after falling into a canal in Watford.
On Thursday, John McNair, 77, died after his car became trapped in a flooded ford in Chew Stoke, Somerset.
Environment Agency has warned that the flood risk remains high across
the country, with 277 alerts and 204 warnings in place in England and