Flood victim speaks of rescuing children and animals in Leatherhead

This Is Local London: Hutches remain empty after the frantic rescue mission on Christmas Eve Hutches remain empty after the frantic rescue mission on Christmas Eve

A flood victim who ran an animal rescue has spoken of the trauma of having to rescue her children and animals from the recent floods.

Four of her 15 guinea pigs drowned in their hutches in the garden Minchin Close when the River Mole burst its banks in Leatherhead on Christmas Eve.

Hayley Anyiwo, 41, mother of five-year-old twin girls, said she no longer feels safe and she has given up her work running Pipsqueak Small Furry Rescue as a result of the flooding.

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Hayley Anyiwo at home. Carpet has been pulled off the bottom steps.

Mrs Anyiwo said: "We are moving now. It’s not safe for my kids because there was sewage in some of the water.

"If we had not carried them then they would have been lost. They would have been covered in water and we would not have seen them. It was like we were in the river." 

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Mrs Anyiwo and her husband, who live in a first floor flat, awoke on Christmas Eve to find the flood water rising rapidly and they rushed to save the guinea pigs, two rabbits and ferrets kept in the garden.

She said: "We rushed out and started saving the animals. We put them in the bath with towels to keep them warm.

"We were helping our neighbours from downstairs to get their furniture out, but the water was rising too quickly. At the time I was gutted because it was Christmas Eve."

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The family bought new children’s clothes at Asda and lived out of a suitcase while staying at her mother’s over Christmas. She added: "We managed to bring the presents."

Mrs Anyiwo said they had received "nothing" in terms of flood relief support and her husband had been unable get through to the district council for two days over Christmas.

Because of the floods they could not even reach the council depot in Dorking to pick up free sandbags and had to buy them locally.

But she said: "The community really came together. Everyone’s lovely. They all came running down when it was flooding."

Mrs Anyiwo, who does not know where they will move now, said: "I loved it here. I loved the water. In the summer it was amazing.

"It was so pretty to sit back and relax, but now I hate it. I hate the river now after that. Ever since the flooding we have had flood warning after flood warning."

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Friends have taken in the rescue guinea pigs because the family live in fear of the garden becoming flooded again.

Neighbours in the flat below are also looking for somewhere to live after their home, furniture and electrics were destroyed.

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Mrs Anyiwo's friend Stacey Carroll, 28, who lives in Headley Road, said they lost power on Christmas Eve and trees came down in the road.

She said: "My partner had to get out a chainsaw. Otherwise we would have been stuck at home and I had not done my Christmas shopping."

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Photographs from Christmas Eve: 

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