A 75-year-old woman who rescued a mother and her two children after their car became stranded in rising flood water has taken it all in her stride.
Pamela Wilkie, of High Street, in Hail Weston, was walking her dog on January 19, at about 9.30am, when she spotted the vehicle stuck in Hail Weston Ford.
“I don’t always go across the ford, but the previous day I saw people from Huntingdonshire District Council close the gates at the ford, which is what they do when they feel it is getting too high to stop people from driving through it,” said Mrs Wilkie.
After noticing the gates were open, however, after the lock had been cut and stolen, Mrs Wilkie was stunned to see a car in the flood water, between the village and neighbouring, Little Paxton.
“I thought that it must have been in there last night but then I saw a very distressed young mum in the car,” Mrs Wilkie told The Hunts Post.
“Water was all around the car and I could see a small boy in there, and there was also a baby.”
The retired physiotherapist made the decision to tie up her dog, Shadow, a Schnauzer, and waded into the water, which was around two feet high, to help the family.
“The water was above my wellington boots at this point. The mum and I were trying to decide what to do, I was extremely worried about the force of the water.”
The mother climbed out of a window and pulled the baby out of the car before the trio made the difficult journey across the water.
“We held hands so we were a stronger force and then walked across to the bank and she left me with the baby and went back to get her four-year-old son.”
“When she got closer we again held hands so that she was able to get back onto the bank.”
By the time the rescue had taken place, a crew from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service and police officers arrived at the scene.
Mrs Wilkie is now calling for a flotation device, or rope, to be placed at the ford to help if a similar situation occurs in the future.
“There wasn’t anyone else around; I was looking for rope or a buoyancy aid to put around my waist so I would have been much safer.
“I was worried about the force of the water at the time as the car could have slipped further down, you think of all of the worse scenarios, but I don’t think I’m a hero for doing this.”
The incident lasted about 20 minutes after which relatives of the family also arrived, while Mrs Wilkie “plodded home with water in her boots”.
Following the incident, the county’s fire service has issued a warning about driving through flood water.
A spokesman for the service said: “If you are going to an area that has flooded before you should check to see if there is any specific flood advice for the area.
“We would advise anyone against trying to wade or drive through flood water as there can be hidden dangers below the surface. If there is a strong current people can easily be swept away.”