Heave-ho as volunteers raise Herbie’s flood house

Katie, one of the couple's grandchildren, who manned one of the 18 'jacks' that raised the house. INPT50

Katie, one of the couple's grandchildren, who manned one of the 18 'jacks' that raised the house. INPT50

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A Birches couple, whose house was badly hit by last year’s floods, have taken the radical step of raising it by 18 inches to avoid a repeat of the crisis.

Herbie Anderson and his wife Jean were helped by a team of 25 volunteers who pitched in to help ‘jack up’ the timber frame house on the Derryvinney Road.

Herbie Anderson and family

Herbie Anderson and family

The volunteers - family, friends and neighbours - crawled into the space underneath the house and placed 18 jacks under the steel girders.

Then, in a carefully co-ordinated operation, they slowly raised the house inches at a time, with the whole process taking just two hours, 20 minutes.

Said Mr Anderson, “We were told we couldn’t do 
it, but it worked 100 
per cent.”

Mr Anderson decided to take on the task himself after being turned down for a grant for the work from the Rivers Agency.

The grant is designed to help people protect their homes following the floods, but the Birches man was told his application didn’t meet the criteria.

He said, “I will have spent about £12,000 by the time I am finished.

“I am relieved to get it done - we couldn’t face 
going through more flooding again - but I am 
disgusted at the way in which the government has treated us.”

Last Christmas and New Year, the Andersons had 14 inches of water at the entrance to their front door and more at the back.

The flood water only subsided after 70 days.

Faced with possible future flooding, Mr Anderson said it was either “move or raise the house”.

The various helpers on the day included the couple’s daughter, the Rev Elizabeth Cairns of Mullavilly Parish Church, as well as their grandchildren.