Bishops Tawton butchers will rise from the flood waters

Katie Wells outside the premises of DI Elliott butchers in Bishops Tawton, awaiting a full refit after the floods. Katie Wells outside the premises of DI Elliott butchers in Bishops Tawton, awaiting a full refit after the floods.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013
9:32 AM

The Elliott family plans to reopen DI Elliott butchers this summer as they continue to recover from December’s floods.

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A family who run the popular DI Elliot butchers shop in Bishops Tawton are keen to assure their customers they have not been beaten by December’s devastating floods.

On the evening of Saturday, December 22, the family had to abandon their beloved business after the Taw burst its banks and the torrent put the shop under four feet of water.

Since that terrible night they have been working hard to see the premises return to life and although the insurance process has taken longer than expected, they hope to hold a grand reopening this summer.

The damage to stock, expensive equipment, fridges, freezers and the building itself runs into tens of thousands of pounds, but Grace Elliott, son Dudley and daughter Katie Wells have no intention of giving in.

“We want to make it clear to our customers we are going to reopen, but we just can’t know when and we have had to be guided by the insurance people,” said Katie.

“But we do appreciate the kindness and support of everyone through all this and we hope to relaunch the shop in the summer.”

Grace added: “We thank all our customers for their patience in waiting. We are opening as soon as we can – we can’t do any more than that.

“We just want to get in, get on and work hard to build our business up again, but at the moment we are in limbo.”

The kindness of local people helped save Christmas on the day of the floods, as Martin Johnson of Combe Martin Meats made a mercy dash in his lorry through the flood waters to reach Bishops Tawton and rescue £10,500 of Christmas meat ordered by DI Elliott’s customers.

“He loaded up all the stock we had and took it back to his own chiller, we are so grateful to him because he came through all the floods in Braunton to do it,” Katie continued.

“We had more than 100 turkeys here, chickens, ducks; it was a lot of stock. We’re very grateful to the people of the village too, who all came to help by making a human chain to load up the lorry and to attempt to move our machinery away from the water.”

Martin returned the next day with the meat and it reached local Christmas dinner tables after the family were able to sell through the farm shop at Fishleigh Farmhouse Foods in Umberleigh.

The entire DI Elliott shop will need to be refitted and building work is also being carried out on Grace’s flat over the shop as well as Dudley’s house next door.

The family praised the efforts of agencies such as South West Water and the Environment Agency, which loaned them pumps to try and keep ahead of the flood water.

But they said they felt the village had been abandoned by local councils at the height of the flooding, when all efforts seemed to be turned towards Barnstaple and Braunton.

They hope something can be done to make sure it does not happen again.

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