A RELIEVED couple finally returned home 16 months after their Millbrook home was badly damaged by a devastating flood.
Pensioners Leo and Dorothy Pieroni, who were forced to live in temporary accommodation, have been reliving their nightmare after their three-storey house on Huddersfield Road was submerged.
They added it has been such a stressful time that both have had spells in hospital due to illness.
Firefighters rescued the pensioners by boat after removing the front window of their home to gain access.
And next-door neighbours Andrew and Shelley Vaughan were taken out through the upstairs window of their home.
Leo, 81, said: “It was described as a flood that happens once every 100 years, and let’s hope it never does again.
“The force of the water was such that it washed away our garden.
“There was a six-foot drop outside the back door and the foundations were exposed.
“We feared the house was going to fall down and we had to get out as quickly as possible.”
Such was the ferocity of the water that their garden shed and greenhouse was also washed away.
Leo added previously they had the occasional problem with flash flooding, but nothing on this scale.
“If there was a big storm, we would perhaps get a trickle of water under the front door, but never anything like this when the water level was half way up the window,” explained Leo.
The couple were put up in a hotel for 10 days before being rehoused in Stalybridge.
But it was a massive operation to repair their damaged home – initially it took three months to dry it out using four industrial dryers.
Their home then had to be rewired, completely re-plastered and also needed new flooring and kitchen as well as the garden being rebuilt.
Leo said: “We had a new kitchen fitted six months before the flood and it was heartbreaking that it was destroyed by the flood.
“Since we have returned it is like being in a new house, but still inside the old building.”
Dorothy says their home of more than half a century has lost some of its “quirky charm” as walls are as straight and true as in a modern house.
Leo also recalled how their plight was made not only national but international news.
He said: “Sky and all the major television companies and journalists were camped outside and we were interviewed.
“My sister and her children saw it on television in Australia while our three sons, who live in Scotland, Leighton Buzzard and Derbyshire, also watched it.”