Storm Dennis: RAF veteran Gordon Matthews moves in with daughter after losing his home to floods

June 16, 2020

A 96-year-old RAF veteran who was only able to recover his war medals when Storm Dennis devastated his home is making "great progress" after moving in with his daughter.

Gordon Matthews had to be saved by boat when the storm swept knee-high floodwaters through his South Wales property in February - which also happened to be on his birthday.

He has since moved in with daughter Catherine, who lives a short drive from his home in Nantgarw, and is said to be "beginning to recover from the distress" after Cardiff Council adapted the property to make him comfortable.

Council leader Huw Thomas said: "The work at Mr Matthews' daughter's home means he can live with family and not be alone at this particularly difficult time."

He added: "We know he is beginning to recover from the distress he experienced earlier in the year and is settling in very well, enjoying daily exercise in the community, which is having a positive effect on his physical and mental wellbeing."

The property in Tongwynlais, which was also Mr Matthews' childhood home, now has a stair-lift, a level-access shower and rails to help his mobility - and has some chair raisers and a bed loop rail to help him stand up.

There is also extra heating installed, and better access to the house.

Mr Matthews' daughter said the extra installations meant she no longer had to worry about her father being on his own in the house, and that he didn't have to feel "trapped" in the bedroom.

She said: "I don't have to worry about him trying the stairs alone and potentially having an accident. He is making great progress in his day-to-day living, even walking a little bit further every day to build up his strength."

Storm Dennis caused severe flooding across huge parts of Wales and the West Midlands when it hit in February.

The impact was particularly harsh as it arrived not long after Storm Ciara.

A report from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) in March estimated clean-up costs for both adverse weather events could surpass £360m.

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