THE groups who pulled together to help the victims of flooding in Basingstoke were honoured with the Judges’ Special Award.

The award, which aims to recognise exceptional nominations not recognised elsewhere within the evening, was presented to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, and Buckskin and Worting Community Association.

As reported in The Gazette, the crisis saw a total of 87 homes evacuated in Buckskin after February 8, when the properties were hit by groundwater flooding. Many of the affected residents have not yet able to be return to their homes.

Brian Rudman, group manager for Basingstoke and Deane group fire stations, said they were thrilled to have picked up the award, but said: “We were just doing our jobs.”

He said: “It was a very busy time for us and everyone worked very hard but at the end of the day, we were all just doing our jobs.”

He added that the fire service had worked closely with the borough council and with Buckskin and Worting Community Association during the flooding.

The community association played a crucial part in ensuring that other agencies were able to provide services to the victims of the flooding.

They opened the Ridgeway Centre within an hour of receiving a call from the borough council for use as an emergency centre, and kept the centre open as an emergency centre around the clock for more than six weeks.The borough council led the response to the flooding alongside the fire and rescue service.

They were praised for going “above and beyond” in the way they handled the emergency situation.

Felicity Edwards, from Destination Basingstoke, said: “This is a special award that is about thanking some of the organisations, and more importantly their staff and volunteers, who led the emergency response to the flooding in Buckskin earlier this year.

“It was a traumatic time for residents who are still having to live with the consequences, but the crisis brought out the best in everyone that was involved in helping and demonstrated the strength of the community, and the very spirit of the A Place to be Proud of Awards.”