Daughter misses out on her 13th birthday party

People in the Sydenham area of east Belfast and the Docks area were said to be at

People in the Sydenham area of east Belfast and the Docks area were said to be at "high risk" of flooding and were urged to start making preparations

In low-lying Sydenham, householders were bracing themselves yesterday.

Despite the risk of floodwater cascading down from the higher Connswater River, most in the Park Avenue area opted to stay where they were.

When the News Letter visited the area, Gary Edwards was piling up sandbags several layers deep at his house.

The front of their home was bedecked with pink balloons and banners, and inside was a £300 birthday cake that had been delivered for daughter Madison, just turned 13. However, the birthday girl was nowhere to be seen, having been sent to stay with a friend the previous night as the flood risk grew.

Mr Edwards, a 33-year-old plasterer, said she was meant to have had a party at the house.

“She’s been looking forward to this for a while,” he said, as he rearranged the bags blocking the front door, adding: “She’s just seen the pictures and doesn’t want to come back.”

Nearby, Randall Taylor, a 44-year-old baker from Orangefield, had come to look after an elderly relative.

“My mother-in-law has lived here 60 years,” he said.

“She’s never seen anything like this. [She] has got as much as she can up the stairs. Hopefully it doesn’t happen.”

But, as reported above, the riverwater subsided after about 12.15pm with no breach of the banks.

Slightly further away from the Connswater River were Harry Nixon and Ray Smyth.

The pair live on the same street, and as they chatted this reporter noticed Mr Nixon had just one sandbag at his door, offering no meaningful protection.

The 71-year-old described the previous night’s distribution at a depot down the street as a “free for all”, while Mr Smyth, 68, said that many of those who had turned up were not even from the area, leaving local residents short.

Mr Smyth added some had even turned up with trailers to take them away in bulk.

But the former Bombardier worker, with experience in the building trade, acknowledged that if the flood had been as bad as some feared then sandbags would be little use against such a full-scale deluge.

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