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Owner hit by nine devastating floods ‘overwhelmed’ by public generosity 

A horse owner who has suffered £10,000 damage in two devastating floods this winter said she cannot express enough gratitude to those who have rallied round to help.

Helen Chester’s Legacy Clydesdales yard, near Nottingham, had been regrouping after October’s major flooding, and seven knee-deep “minor incidents” since, when Storm Dennis hit last Sunday (16 February).

“By the time I got to the yard on Sunday morning, the water was halfway up my thighs on the drive,” Helen told H&H.

“We got the horses out of their stables when it was fetlock-deep – in October, they were belly-deep and one’s 18hh. We didn’t feel it was safe to move them off the yard through the rising water but there was about a quarter of an acre that wasn’t under water and had shelter, so they were safest there.”

Helen explained the flooding is caused when a river half a mile away gets so high, water backs up in a dyke, and then a ditch by her land, eventually overflowing.

She used her savings to replace her winter’s hay stock, bedding and feed ruined in the first flood, but the most recent flooding wiped her out again. Including her lorry, which she could not move in time and has been damaged beyond economic repair, she puts the total cost at about £10,000.

“Insurance doesn’t cover any of it,” she said. “But we feel we’ve got off lightly compared to some as we’ve got our home and our animals are safe – I had to life-raft the chickens to safety by floating them out on an airbed. We had two flocks and have found that white-water rafting is an excellent way to bond flocks together!”

Helen set up a fundraising page in desperation, “thinking friends and family might throw us a fiver”, but by today (20 February) it had raised over £1,200.

“The response has been incredible,” she said. “I can’t comprehend how generous people have been.

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“One donor gave £500 and because I didn’t want to take money for nothing, I’m offering things like Clydesdale shoes, a carriage-drive or a full show day experience in return. 

“My passion is these horses. We don’t make money from them; we take them to fetes, shows and events and I’m in it to preserve and promote this rare breed.

“I’ve been totally and utterly overwhelmed by people’s response to our appeal; I just can’t express my gratitude.”

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