Tireless Tony hangs up wellies after three years as flood action man

Tony Higham during the flooding in Hambledon last year
Tony Higham during the flooding in Hambledon last year

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  • Tony Higham says Royal Navy training helped him through Hambledon floods
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FOR three months he barely got a wink of sleep as he was on constant alert to help people swamped by flooding.

With the Royal Navy fighting spirit, Tony Higham never gave up and put his heart and soul into helping his neighbours in flood-hit Hambledon.

But, after three years as the chairman of Hambledon’s flood action group, the 67-year-old has decided to call it a day.

He won’t be putting his feet up and sailing into the sunset, however.

Tony, a former Royal Navy commander, will be juggling his multitude of other jobs, including driving a community mini-bus, being a school governor at Hambledon Primary School and being the air display director for the America’s Cup and Cowes Week.

Tony was out in all weathers when Hambledon was inundated with floodwaters between January and March last year.

The year before he was instrumental in setting up the contingency plans when Hambledon had a near-miss of serious flooding in the winter of 2012-2013.

Nothing could have prepared him, however, for the gruelling regime last year, which included pumping water out of homes and a detailed daily report to villagers about the flooding.

Tony said: ‘My aim was to get it out by 7.30am so when people arrived at work or villagers were leaving for work, they knew the latest situation.

‘It’s the sort of thing that we do in the navy – it’s pretty standard to have a morning brief. What I did not plan for was it would go on for nearly three months.

‘I think my wife was getting cheesed off with the alarm going off at 5.15am every morning.’

He added: ‘When you see your fellow villagers desperate for help, it’s not the time to turn your back. We were very knackered at the end of it. Unfortunately flooding does not believe in weekends.’

Hambledonian Jan Jarvie will succeed him.