THE managers of a pub in Usk which flooded for the ninth time in a year in December have said they “can’t thank the community enough” after £7,000 was raised for them.

Partners Nicola Cole and Matt Baker, who have been at the Olway Inn for 15 years, said the building had flooded 20 times in that period, but said two of the nine floods last year (in February and then two days before Christmas Day) were by far the most devastating.

On December 23, after hours of torrential rainfall, water from the Olway brook which runs beside the pub began quickly entering the building at around 9pm.

“We have got so used to flooding that we know when it’s likely to happen,” said Ms Cole. “We set up our flood defences and managed to hold it back until 9pm. But it became too difficult. I’ve not seen flooding like it since we came here.

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The water was finally out by 10am on Christmas Eve.

“We had to call the fire brigade, and even they couldn’t get down here. We were waist-deep.”

The New Court Inn down the road offered their premises on Christmas Day morning so Ms Cole and Mr Baker could serve takeaway meals, and farmers Steve and Paul Taylor from Raglan arrived on their tractors late on Christmas Eve to transport food.

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Inside the pub on Monday, which is now looking much better

The pub was completely wrecked and the roof was damaged from the rainfall, and Ms Cole believes it will take months to get back to normal, although the kitchen has reopened and they can continue serving takeaway food.

Ex-workers at the Olway Inn organised a JustGiving page to raise £1,000 to contribute towards the repairs. It now has raised more than £7,000.


Mr Baker said: “We can’t thank everyone enough. The sense of community here is overwhelming, which is why we carry on fighting. We would like to thank every single person but there are too many names to mention.”

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The roof also needs repair work, which will be paid for by the money raised by the community

Ms Cole said: “If it wasn’t for our brilliant community we wouldn’t have saved Christmas. Due to social distancing we were only allowed five people to clear up with us, but we’ve had so much generosity in so many ways.”

People across Monmouthshire have called for an inquiry as to why properties have suffered more regular and worse flooding in recent months and years, and Ms Cole and Mr Baker said there must be a reason they are now being flooded so regularly.

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The water was two-feet deep

“It needs to be looked at," Ms Cole added. "Perhaps it’s the water ways. Maybe the brook needs to be dredged more regularly.”

It is another kick in the teeth after a year of despair for the couple.

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Ms Cole says something needs to be done about the regular flooding

“It’s like you get over one thing and another hits you,” Ms Cole said. “We can’t keep paying out the money all the time to recover from the flooding, especially during the pandemic. That’s why we’re so grateful for the donations.

“It does defeat you, but you have to pick yourself up and carry on.

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The Olway Inn on Chepstow Road, Usk

“Today (Monday) you’d think we’d never flooded. That’s because we have the help of everyone in our lovely town.

“But we are again asking ourselves ‘when is the next flood?’ The devastation and the heartache it causes just breaks you.”

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