Flood response highlights community spirit in Northern Ireland

A team of tractors tackle floodwaters
A team of tractors tackle floodwaters

Autoline and Johnston Press have teamed up to showcase local communities who come together in a time of crisis.

We’re offering you the opportunity to say thank you to those who exemplify community spirit and give them the chance of winning a luxurious stay in the Galgorm Resort & Spa worth £200.

Farmers responding to recent flooding in Northern Ireland

Farmers responding to recent flooding in Northern Ireland

The recent flooding provided great examples of community spirit, particularly by the farming community.

As over half of August’s average rainfall fell in less than nine hours, belongings, cars, bridges and roads were washed away.

One hundred people were rescued from their homes and the City of Derry airport was forced to temporarily close.

Among the chaos, however, farmers in particular stepped forward, working long into the night to rescue those who were stranded and to tackle the floods.

Michael Blaney, Autoline Insurance MD, said: “As an insurance broker we helped customers deal with the aftermath of the flooding. From conversations with those affected we were bowled over by the sheer number of farmers who voluntarily came forward to help people. Many worked through the night and into the next day rescuing cars and pumping floodwaters out of roads and fields.

“They responded out of a sense of community spirit which was humbling to witness, and made a considerable difference to the work of our overstretched emergency services. This competition is based on our theme of ‘We’re With You’ and our farmers were certainly there that night when they were needed.”

One example which was typical of many was Autoline customer, David Devine, a farmer based outside Newbuildings.

He said: “I’ve never experienced rain like it and I wouldn’t like to see it again. The roads were in chaos with diversions in place everywhere.

“The road outside our farm had almost four feet of flood water on it with people stranded and cars abandoned.

“Over a six hour period we pulled six cars out of the flood, drove one young family home and a couple of lads who had to abandon their car.

“We eventually punched a hole in the ditch to help drain the water and reopen the road. We had the right equipment and anyone would have done the same thing.”

If you have benefitted from the support of your local community or if you’d like to nominate someone in your community for an act of kindness, visit www.autoline.co.uk/community and tell us your story in no more than 250 words.

Alternatively, write to ‘We’re With You’, Autoline, 2 Ashtree Business Park, Rathfriland Road, Newry, BT34 1BY.

The best stories will be featured in the News Letter and other Johnston Press papers. The closing date is October 13.