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15 minutes to grab belongings for danger zone residents

Martin Codling Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Martin Codling loaded up as much as he could in 15 minutes on Saturday morning

Police have allowed 1,500 residents evacuated from the Derbyshire town of Whaley Bridge on Thursday to return home for up to 15 minutes to pick up essential items.

We asked some of those who headed back into the exclusion zone what they had prioritised.

Image caption Lynn and Matt Lingard had already returned once to grab their dogs

Checking on the pets

After being allowed to take their two dogs, Sooty and Sweep, with them on Thursday, Lynn and Matt Lingard used the opportunity to return to collect the rest of their pets, including two rabbits.

Mrs Lingard said: “We’ve managed to get our little ones out of the home. The police were very helpful.

“We’re quite down today. It hit us hard going back to our home and seeing what we have to leave behind and could lose if anything happens. We just want to live a normal life.”

Image copyright Samantha Nally
Image caption Samantha Nally , pictured right with her daughter Jess, is due to go on holiday on Wednesday

Holiday necessities

How long does it take you to pack for your holiday? Samantha Nally had to pack it into 15 minutes as she is due to jet off to Spain on Wednesday and is unsure whether she will be able to return home again before leaving.

She told us she grabbed her passport plus as many clothes, medication and holiday essentials as she could in the time allowed.

“We were very worried, it’s the first family holiday we will have had in years,” she said.

“I even considered sneaking into my house at night to get my passport if I had to, so I didn’t let my son down.”

Image copyright Elle Pilkington
Image caption Elle Pilkington prioritised toys and equipment for her son

Cat and clothes

Elle Pilkington said her partner rushed back to their evacuated home in Furness Vale and grabbed enough clothes to last him, her and their son for the next seven days.

Ms Pilkington, a support worker, said he also collected their pet cat, a stack of toiletries plus leg splints and toys for their son.

“I was in the middle of a 14-hour shift when we first evacuated so we weren’t able to take anything when we first left – plus we had no idea how long we’d be gone for,” she said.

Image copyright Bronwyn Downs
Image caption Bronwyn Downs said she had been warned she might be unable to return for a week

Sentimental items

For Bronwyn Downs, sentiment played a part in prioritising what to take in the 15-minute window.

She said: “When we first evacuated we were able to grab our cats and not a lot else. My partner nipped back last night and picked up some clothes and our memory box.

“It was all very confusing and unorganised. They’ve said to prepare for seven days out of the village at least, but at the same time people can enter at their own risk.”

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption About 1,500 people were told to leave the town on Thursday

Nothing at all

Angela Rolley said her partner and son considered dashing back to their home in Whaley Bridge, but concluded it was too risky.

She said: “There is still a risk of the dam breaching, so the risk is not worth taking.

“Their house is the first that would be hit, so they are managing with just what they have.”

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