Post office hit by 'tsunami' of flooding set to reopen after nine months

Daryn and Caroline Reffell of Sicklesmere post office are reopening, after it was destroyed by a flash flood

Daryn and Caroline Reffell of Sicklesmere post office are reopening, after it was destroyed by a flash flood early last year. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

A village post office and shop devastated by a "tsunami" of flash flooding is set to reopen after being closed for nine months.

Sicklesmere Post Office and Village Shop, near Bury St Edmunds, has been shut since June 2020 after a torrent of water engulfed the store up to knee height.

The fire service had to pump water out of the premises into a nearby river, due to a blocked drain.

The store was left severely damaged, with owners Caroline and Daryn Reffell having to resort to paper rounds and deliveries to ensure the business survived - while neighbours fundraised for new flood defences.

The store is now due to reopen on Monday, March 29.

Daryn and Caroline Reffell of Sicklesmere post office are reopening, after it was destroyed by a fla

Daryn and Caroline Reffell are hoping to welcome back customers on March 29. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Mrs Reffell said: "It had been a normal day and we were serving customers. 


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"My husband commented that a storm was coming and I said: 'Oh, I love a good storm.' 

"I went to make a cup of coffee, then my husband starts shouting about a flood.

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"I hurried back to see white water rapids rushing into the shop.

"It was like a tsunami.

A flash flood destroyed Sicklesmere Post Office in Suffolk, with cars submurged in knee-high water.

A flash flood destroyed Sicklesmere Post Office in Suffolk, with cars submurged in knee-high water. Picture: POST OFFICE - Credit: Archant

"There was nothing we could do.

"It devastated the business and our home, because we have got a 200-year-old building which is our home as well as the business. 

"All of the lower floor was devastated and it has taken nearly nine months to sort that all out.

"We were still on deck chairs still in December because we were waiting for sofas to come and the builders to finish the house side of things.

"The only thing that has got us through it really is the paper round.

"We took on more customers. We have got over 600 home delivery customers now.

Daryn and Caroline Reffell of Sicklesmere post office are reopening, after it was destroyed by a fla

The owners also run a store inside the Post Office Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

"Everybody has been isolating and they have needed their newspapers, so we have upped those and we now deliver in all different areas around the villages.

"If it wasn't for the papers, we would've been out of it completely."

When the floods hit, the community rallied round to help with the clear-up.

They surprised the family by fundraising nearly £7,000 to help buy some flood gates.

Mrs Reffell said: "The villagers did a fundraiser in which they raised enough money to buy some flood gates for just in case.

"It was brilliant. Every last penny of that money raised was a complete surprise.

"We have just been overwhelmed by the support and kind messages. 

"We just can't wait to see everybody."

A mobile Post Office will now serve Sicklesmere after the village's shop was devastated by a flash f

A mobile post office was put in place for the residents of Sicklesmere - Credit: Archant

The owners would also like to thank Maurice Lync, postmaster for Stanton, for providing a temporary mobile post office to the village.

They also thanked Barbara and Ralph Turner, at Cockfield Post Office, for providing alternative post office services. 

The mobile post office will visit the car park of Sicklesmere Post Office for one last time on Tuesday, March 23 between 9.30am and 11am. 

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