Marooned at Christmas: Family left stranded for a week in holiday cottage as Severn bursts its banksDream Christmas becomes nightmare for 12 members of the Hughes familyThey had to be rescued from a luxury cottage in Uckinghall, GlosIt was the first time the whole family had been together for 20 years
08:09 GMT, 31 December 2012
A Christmas break in a luxurious cottage by the Severn probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
But it turned into a nightmare for the Hughes family when the river burst its banks and they were stranded indoors for a week looking out at waist-deep water before eventually being rescued by boat.
Simon Hughes, 44, and his extended family – a total of eight adults, four children and a dog – had paid about 2,500 for a week in The Ferryman’s Cottage in the hamlet of Uckinghall near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire.
Marooned: Eight adults, four children and a dog all had to be rescued from this holiday home, surrounded by floodwater in the hamlet of Uckinghall, near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, after they were stranded for a week by floods
Safety: Two of the stranded party, Becky and Linda, look relieved as they are finally led to safety from the holiday home where they had been marooned for seven days
It was the first reunion in 20
years of all the family members, one of whom is a diabetic who only had
enough insulin for a week.
within hours of their arrival on December 22 the fields surrounding the
seven-bedroom, four-bathroom cottage began to fill with water.
Hughes, a technical author, said: ‘When we arrived I had no inkling we
were in a flood zone. We didn’t know the Severn had breached its banks.
We were due to stay for a week and I thought we’d be taking lots of
‘There was a five-bar gate on the edge of the property and by the morning we could only see four bars.
'We only had 20 yards of grass in the back garden to play with, the rest was just submerged. It was about 10ft at the deepest.
‘Four hundred yards of land around us went down to just 100 yards and then all the fields disappeared.’
Heading towards dry land: Members of a family stranded at a holiday cottage over Christmas are pictured being led to dry land by a team of rescuers
Submerged: A team of rescuers needed a boat to reach a family marooned at a luxury holiday cottage near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, over Christmas
Mr Hughes was with his partner Lecia Watts, his children Alex, ten, and Charlie, two, his diabetic father Terry, 72, and his partner, Linda.
Simon’s mother Pam, 71, also arrived along with his sister Becky Stevens, 47, her husband John and their children Ben, 11, and Meghan, ten.
Simon’s aunt Kris also joined the group with the family dog Peggy, a seven-year-old Patterdale Terrier.
The family had little option but to make the most of their time together indoors, playing board games, treasure hunts and Headbands, where they had to guess names written on bits of paper and stuck to their foreheads.
But on Christmas Eve, after two days of solid rain, they were going ‘totally mad,’ according to Mr Hughes.
As a result, he and his brother-in-law John decided to brave the waters in the dark, armed with torches and wellies, to try to reach a pub.
After wading through the waist-deep water, they eventually made it and described their plight to locals who lent the family a boat so a couple of them at a time could leave the cottage to go for supplies while a rescue was planned.
The family were finally taken to dry land on Saturday when the West Midlands Search and Rescue Service arrived with two boats.
Putting on a brave face: Despite being marooned over Christmas, the family tried to keep their spirits up by playing parlour games
Not a happy Christmas: The four children, (from left) Ben, Meghan, Alex and Charlie, who were rescued from the Gloucestershire cottage don't look as though they are having a merry Christmas
The family have been refunded the full cost of the stay at the cottage, which they booked through Cottages4You.
yesterday warned that the projected wettest year on record is set to
end with yet more rain. There is a risk of further flooding across the
country, with 191 flood alerts and 79 flood warnings in place.
However, the weather is expected to turn dry by the early hours of New Year’s Day.
Drying off: The family's dog is dried off by rescuers who led the group to safety across flood waters in Gloucestershire
Thumbs up: Megan looks delighted to be back on dry land following the rescue