Community spirit 'rings through' flooded Kent towns as homes affected by worst tidal surge in decades
People gave up their time to work through the night as they rallied round to help neighbours protect their homes with sandbags and ensure the elderly were safe.
In Sandwich, residents even filled sandbags themselves before delivering them to those nearby in a bid to keep people safe and protect buildings and belongings.
Youngsters rallied together in Sandwich to collect sandbags
Speaking from an emergency rest centre set up at Sandwich Leisure Centre, reporter Beth Robson said: "The community spirit is ringing through the town.
"Some are struggling with trolleys full of wet and heavy sandbags to help their friends and neighbours..." - reporter Beth Robson
"Teenagers are carrying sandbags over their shoulders and builders have been calling on elderly customers to make sure their homes are protected.
"Some are struggling with trolleys full of wet and heavy sandbags to help their friends and neighbours."
Ian Nunn, operations manager at the Environment Agency, said the community spirit in Sandwich has been "fantastic".
He added: "Jackson, who're our contractors in the town, did a brilliant job getting all the sand in.
"We've filled about 7,000 sandbags - people have taken as many as they could.
"We kept that going until about midnight so I think we've done all we can."
Council, Red Cross, St John's Ambulance and Oyster WI staff on hand at All Saints Church hall
Thirteen families affected by the flooding took refuge at West Favesham Community Centre, which is open again today.
David White, from the centre, said: "It's the first time we've been called upon for something like this, but we're pleased to be available and to help wherever we can.
"There are obviously a lot of low lying areas in Faversham vulnerable to flooding and we'll be pleased to provide help to the community.
"We're here to provide warmth, shelter and have teas, coffee and snacks available."
Among those who took shelter there was Guy Widdowson, 32, his wife Julie, and their children Joshua, four, and three-month-old Isabella.
Guy and Julie Widdowson with children Joshua and Isabella at an emergency centre
Health and safety inspector Mr Widdowson said they left their house in Cyprus Road, Faversham, at 12.15am after they were advised to by police.
He said: “We were actually in bed when they knocked on the door at 10.30pm and said we should evacuate.
"We sat and had a little think about it and thought it was probably for the best.
"We moved the TVs upstairs and made sure the Christmas presents were safe and then came down here. If it wasn't for the kids, I don't think we would have."
Centre manager Amber Christou said an elderly couple were the first to arrive, but they were put up in a hotel because of ill health.
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