Monday, 26 June 2017

DJ returns home after floodwater recedes

MIKE READ has returned to his Henley home more than a month after he was forced out by flooding.

The BBC Radio Berkshire presenter spent about 40 days staying in hotels and living with friends in London.

He left the property in Mill Lane on January 16 because it was “uninhabitable” without heating or a working toilet.

The floodwater had filled cesspits underneath the street, meaning residents risked filling their homes with sewage if they flushed. The river reached the sandbags the presenter had placed around his house and completely surrounded it but stopped just short of getting inside. Read said: “It was a bit tricky — the water was very powerful and just came pouring through the gardens at the back.

“It was extraordinary but also a bit exciting putting on full-length waders and trying to get out through chest-deep water.”

Read said he had travelled from place to place with his possessions in a bag and had worked from his laptop.

He said: “I don’t want to moan about it because it wasn’t really a problem — it’s just one of those things you have to get on with.

“It’s interesting trying to work when you’re on the run but it’s fine. It’s hardly the end of the world. Everybody has to be somewhere and it doesn’t really matter where you are as long as you’re happy and doing something you enjoy.”

The Thames rose again early last month and many of Read’s neighbours also had to leave their homes.

Mill Lane flooded for a second time on February 11 and children and pensioners had to be rescued.

Hugo Loudon, of Heritage Tree Services in Stoke Row, evacuated them using a truck with large wheels.

The lane was still closed to traffic this week but Oxfordshire County Council expects it to re-open tomorrow (Saturday).

Read said: “I would guess most people in Mill Lane are back home now that the water has dropped.

“The county council is already filling all the craters in the road, which is brilliant. It’s absolutely pitted with them and completely wrecked.

“Everything is getting back to normal and I think what happened is just part of life.”

Read is backing a charity single for UK flood victims by actors Jonty Stephens and Ian Ashpitel, the stars of West End musical Eric and Little Ern.

The song, a cover of Morecambe and Wise’s signature tune Bring Me Sunshine, was due to be recorded at Whitehouse Studios in Reading this week.

It also features The Jive Aces, who performed with Read at his Anything Can Happen charity concert at the Kenton Theatre in October.

Read put the band in touch with the pair, who are friends, and will promote the single on his radio show.

He said: “My role has been to act as ringleader and facilitate it but I may do a bit of warbling on the record as well. It should be fun.”

Meanwhile, the Environment Agency has lifted its flood warnings for the Henley area but alerts are still in place, meaning flooding is still considered possible.

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