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kind-hearted Locals rally round after elderly woman loses Christmas presents to flooding

Heddwyn James’s Christmas presents were submerged when her house was flooded, but neighbours stepped in to help.

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Flood water surrounds a Christmas tree at Helddwyn James’s home in Sully, South Wales (Craig James/PA)

Flood water surrounds a Christmas tree at Helddwyn James’s home in Sully, South Wales (Craig James/PA)

Flood water surrounds a Christmas tree at Helddwyn James’s home in Sully, South Wales (Craig James/PA)

Neighbours of an elderly woman whose home was flooded just before Christmas Day have formed a human chain to help remove the water – and raised funds to replace her lost Christmas presents.

Heddwyn James was one of several residents of the village of Sully in South Wales to find her home over-run with water after heavy rainfall on Wednesday, with the flooding even submerging her Christmas tree and gifts for loved ones.

Her daughter Liane told the PA news agency that Mrs James was frightened by the speed of the water rushing in to her home, adding: “It was just a river coming through, it was incredible.”

When her son arrived to help shortly after, he took a photo of the flooding and posted it to a local Facebook group, Sully Village Hub, which prompted dozens of volunteers to come out to help.

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Flooding in Mrs James’ garden (Craig James/PA)

Flooding in Mrs James’ garden (Craig James/PA)

Flooding in Mrs James’ garden (Craig James/PA)

“Within 10 minutes people started arriving and by the time I arrived there must have been about 50 people in the close, all forming a chain and buckets, everyone helping each other,” Ms James said.

“We had the local voluntary (agency) with pumps – the fire service basically turned up and said ‘you’re doing everything that we would be doing’. So the community basically dealt with the flooding and got rid of all the water.”

Ms James said the family remained frightened of further flooding at her mother’s home, with more rain expected after Christmas.

However, she added that those fears had been somewhat allayed after one of the volunteers drove to collect and deliver sandbags which are in place to soak up excess water.

A fundraising page set up for affected residents like Mrs James has raised more than £6,000 within a day, with plans to spend some of the money replacing the gifts Mrs James had bought.

“You can’t fault the community, I’ve never known anything like it,” her daughter said.

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