A new book about the Egham Floods, compiled by student volunteers at Royal Holloway, University of London, was given out for free on May 26, 2018 at Frogs Island Fair in Pooley Green from 11am to 5pm.
Egham Floods Anthology Book
With great help from Egham Museum, the book has compiled the memories and stories from those who lived through the worst floods Runnymede had seen in more than half a century, as well photographs and poems by children.
The book was a request by the local community as a way to document and learn from what happened and was funded and supported by Surrey County Council and Runnymede Borough Council.
During the February 2014 period, 368 homes throughout the borough were flooded, with 250 of those being in Egham.
Egham experienced one of its most devastating floods which occurred on February 10 to 14, 2014, with locals experiencing a state of sheer confusion and disbelief; homes were destroyed, personal items were lost, and getting around was nigh on impossible.
Waist-deep water consumed Ayebridges Avenue in Egham and there were multiple power failures and fallen trees left behind by the storm, preventing water drainage.
Phil Simcock, Volunteering Manager at Royal Holloway was a leading figure in co-coordinating the volunteer effort from the university.
He said: “The floods in 2014 were awful, especially in the Egham area. Although we weren’t necessarily experts in responding to floods relief, we knew we had to help and we were constantly receiving emails from students and staff who wanted to be involved – I think we had about 80 names on our list.
“Our volunteers filled up sandbags regularly, helped out at Magna Carta School, and outside Sainsbury’s to distribute them.
“Some of our volunteers helped drive the army around when they needed transport. They helped distribute leaflets to doors where there were residents who couldn’t get online. Also, food, bags, and clothing needed to be distributed.
“There was at least a two week period where there it was non-stop 24/7.
“The phone was constantly on. Weekends didn’t feel like weekends because you didn’t feel you could stop, because people were constantly in need. We would get calls from the flood relief centre day and night asking if we could help.
“We ended up housing Thorpe Lea Primary School in the University for two weeks because they were completely flooded and the grounds were contaminated.
“This book brings a culmination of all these memories of those who lived and helped through this and how, four years on, we still remember and want to bring a positive dynamic to the river, which has always been enjoyed for so many years by local residents and tourists alike.”
If anyone would like a copy of the book and didn't have the chance to go to the Frog Island Fair, a limited amount of hard copies will be available at Royal Holloway University, Egham Museum, The Hythe Centre and St Paul’s Church. Otherwise, please check out the online version.
Royal Holloway won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service last year. Click here for more information on volunteering at Royal Holloway.