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School kids flee in floods; KIDS HIT BY FLOODS.

Byline: LINDSEY MUSSETT

DOZENS of Teesside school pupils faced an arduous three-mile trek after they became stranded by flood waters during a Lake District school trip.

The 70 Year 7 pupils from Middlesbrough's Macmillan Academy were on the penultimate day of their week-long visit to Howtown in Ullswater when the floods began.

Conditions became so treacherous that vehicles could no longer reach the site, so the youngsters donned their waterproofs to make the journey to the nearest clear area on foot. Teachers evacuated the 11 and 12-year-old students a day before they were due to leave, when it became clear conditions were only going to worsen.

Deputy principal John McCallum said: "The water levels were rising so quickly and we made the decision to evacuate at 10am yesterday. "We couldn't get our own coaches across there so we hired two coaches from the Lake District area, who got as close as they could, waiting for the students at Pooley Bridge. "The children, in their waterproofs, arrived at Pooley Bridge at 2.15pm and arrived at school at about 6pm. "The coaches also had to take a long route back, as the A66 was cut off. "We rang parents yesterday morning to let them know and kept them updated on the arrival time via the website.

They were all waiting in the hall with refreshments. When the youngsters arrived, everyone applauded!" The news of the drama comes as Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteers and staff from the Teesside area joined other emergency services in a mammoth flood rescue operation in Cockermouth, in Cumbria. The RNLI's Flood Rescue Team (FRT) has rescued dozens of people from flooded homes in the area overnight. Volunteers from Redcar, Hartlepool, Staithes, Scarborough and Runswick trained in specialist swift-water rescue techniques and equipped with inflatable inshore rescue boats were due to meet in Stockton before heading over to Cumbria to arrive at about 9pm last night.

Today the lifeboat charity was still operating in the town centre, where flood water was streaming through the streets at speeds of up to 25 knots. Overseeing the RNLI teams from the police command centre in Penrith, RNLI Divisional Inspector North Andy Clift said: "RNLI teams arrived on scene around 10pm last night. They have worked through the night in horrendous conditions, evacuating people from their homes in Cockermouth. "Workington RNLI all-weather lifeboat crew is also now also involved in a sea search off the Cumbria coast following a bridge collapse." * Floods hell: Story and pictures: Page 8

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ALL HOMESAFE: Deputy principal John McCallum said waters rose quickly
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Title Annotation:News; Front Page
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 20, 2009
Words:430
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