Local 4x4 team in flood rescue

Dave Jones (left) and Sam Imber (right) with their vehicle and emergency equipment.
Dave Jones (left) and Sam Imber (right) with their vehicle and emergency equipment.

A couple of heroes have been helping families stricken by the terrible floods in the South of England. One has even been volunteering his services to householders in the Thames Valley.

In the earlier stages of recent wild weather conditions, two local 4x4 volunteers, Sam Imber, 25, from Uckfield and Dave Jones, 24, from Newick both helped bail out flooded homes in Ridgewood where water was oozing into two homes through airbricks. The pair were given 30 filled sandbags by local firm Parker Building Supplies. They also helped clear flooded shops in Edenbridge and hauled fallen trees off roads.

But as the news broke about flooded homes in the Thames Valley Sam, who has relatives living in Wraysbury, Addlestone and Chertsey, realised he knew the area well and could not ignore the plight of local householders.

He watched an early morning broadcast on TV, loaded up his vehicle and drove to the area where he found himself paired with another rescuer from Surrey. Sam waded in water up to his chest and was instrumental in helping people to safety including a one-year-old baby, an 80 year old man and even a pet dog. While there he helped evacuate 20 people from their homes.

Suddenly he found himself the centre of media attention and was besieged by TV and national press photographers and reporters.

He found himself on morning television, giving a graphic account of the conditions faced by ordinary families facing an extraordinary disaster.

Sam told the Express: “I just felt I had to get into my vehicle and get up there. The water was chest deep and it was full of engine oil and fuel from the road surface. There were even rats swimming around in the water. I didn’t really want to be there but there was no option. About the only cheering thing about it was that people were really grateful and thanked us. I didn’t want to come back to Uckfield, there was so much more to do, but I plan to get back up to the Thames Valley this weekend and see if there is any further help we can give.”

Sam is the managing director of Uckfield-based Pyra Graphics and Dave, his fellow local rescuer maintains electricity poles and sub-stations for the National Grid. The pair were part of a Sussex 4 x 4 team which ferried medical supplies to a collection point ready for despatch to the Phillipines after Typhoon Haiyan; they were also part of a response team that helped evacuate a flooded Kent caravan park. Sam said: “I find it very hard to ignore these kind of circumstances. Someone has to get in there and help out.”