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Floods heroine Cllr Geraldine Brown in line for £10,000 national award

By William Janes

Geraldine Brown stands to win a £10,000 prize for her work on flood relief in Yalding.

Cllr Brown, chairman of Yalding Parish Council, helped the area cope in 2000 and 2013, when the River Medway burst its banks, submerging Maidstone and several villages.

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Geraldine Brown has been shortlisted for a Local Heroes award

Geraldine Brown has been shortlisted for a Local Heroes award

Yalding was badly hit both times, as it is where the rivers Teise and Beult join the Medway.

After 2000 she set up an emergency contact centre and commandeered the church as a refuge. She also created an email database of around 600 residents to share up-to-date information about possible flood risks.

And she works closely with the Environment Agency to make sure Yalding has the best defence system in place and is prepared in case the worst happens.

Her nomination is for a Local Hero Award and is run by Flood Re – a scheme making affordable flood insurance available. She is one of six nominees.

She said: “It is a great honour. We have had a lot of flooding over the last few years and it’s an issue I have got stuck into.

Yalding town centre flooded

Yalding town centre flooded

“I got flooded in the past, and back in 2000 no-one was doing anything to prepare so we worked on changing that.

“When it happened again in 2013 we knew what we were going to do and we were more resilient.”

Andy Bord, chief executive of Flood Re and chairman of the judging panel, said: “We read many inspiring stories during the judging process, which meant that narrowing it down to six entrants was a difficult task.

The fire service to the rescue in 2000

The fire service to the rescue in 2000

“However, Geraldine has shown incredible skill and determination and she thoroughly deserves to be in the final six.

If she wins the £10,000, Cllr Brown will put it back towards community flood resilience work.

The winner will be announced at a reception at the Palace of Westminster on November 28 by minister for flooding Therese Coffey.

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