Flood-damaged Walcott driven apart by disagreement over donations


Walcott. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A community devastated by December's floods has been driven apart by a disagreement over donations.

Almost 100 bags of clothes were dropped at Bacton village pavilion, given by well-meaning villagers.

But after three months, when mice got into the building and Bacton Parish Council was hit with a £350 heating bill for keeping the clothes dry, the decision was made to sell the goods to a charity and donate the money to the EDP flood appeal.

However a local unofficial group - the Walcott, Bacton and Happisburgh Communities Flood Support and Help Group - said the donations belonged to them and the money should have been channelled their way.

Comments on their Facebook page suggested foul play and group founder 'Bell the Biker', who refused to reveal his real name or address, said the goods belonged to his group.

He said: 'I am extremely annoyed about what has happened.

'All the donations of clothes that we had stored at the pavilion were removed by someone who was nothing to do with our group and the money was given to the EDP appeal.

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'It was nothing to do with them and we worked really hard to collect all those donations. Volunteers brought them in from all over the county and they were clearly needed by people.'

But Bacton Parish Councillor Patricia Myles, who let people into the pavilion to drop off and collect donations, said the agreement had been between the two parish councils.

She said: 'The donations did not really belong to anybody, they belonged to the community.

'People had stopped coming and the mice were having a field day in there - it had to go to charity.'

Walcott parish council chairman Pauline Porter said people had started to bring goods after the tidal surge and Walcott had nowhere to store them.

She said: 'Bacton Parish Council came to us and asked if they could help. They agreed that Walcott Parish Council could have use of their pavilion.'

And Alison Hamilton, senior flood warden for Bacton, said: 'The parish council didn't offer the pavilion to the Facebook group, it was offered to the official committee.'

Anna Douglas, of the Norfolk Community Foundation which has been administering the funds from the EDP flood appeal, said 560kg had been picked up from Bacton and given to Clothes for Charity in return for a donation of more than £100 to the EDP flood appeal.

To donate, transfer money online to THE EDP NORFOLK AND LOWESTOFT FLOOD APPEAL – Handelsbanken account number: 32314046 Sort code: 40-51-62 or visit the North Norfolk District Council in Cromer. Cheques should be made payable to NNDC.