A Dromara farmer has said he can’t thank his neighbours enough after they came to his aid and used a boat to rescue his sheep from drowning in the aftermath of Storm Frank.
When Aubrey Malcolmson went to check his flock of 58 breeding ewes last Wednesday morning (30th December), he found that the sheep had sought shelter during the night, but the rising flood waters left them stranded and all were in danger of being lost after the River Lagan burst its banks.
The Tullindoney Road man described the incident as ‘horrendous’, but said he could never repay his neighbours for what they did for him.
“It was in the storm on Tuesday night and on Wednesday morning that the sheep were stranded,” he explained.
“Six were dead by the time we got them out of there and in total I lost 11. All were breeders and were due to lamb in April.”
After trying to rescue the sheep, someone suggested calling in the help of a local neighbour who owns a small boat, Aubrey explained:
“The neighbour said he would come with his wee boat and brought them out one at a time. Then he was able to bring two and someone suggested that we get a tractor and link box and we were able to get three or four at a time.
“They worked until 7.30pm when there was no light and no nothing. It was horrendous. I just got the dead ones lifted this morning (5th January).”
Aubrey said the incident had been an ordeal and he had nearly given up hope when his neighbours came to his aid.
He said the local flooding has been the worst in a long time and he has never seen flood water remain in fields and on roads for so long.
Aubrey described the loss of the sheep and the potential lambs as ‘big’, but added: “I couldn’t thank the neighbours enough. I couldn’t repay them for what they did for me.
“I’m keeping a close eye on the remaining sheep and so far they seem to be doing fairly well but it isn’t until lambing time that you find out the real damage.
“That puts the heart out of you as far as sheep are concerned.”
Storm Frank wreaked havoc throughout the Lisburn area, with roads being closed throughout the city.
Rural areas such as Moira, Hillsborough and Dromara were amongst the worst effected by the latest storm to hit Northern Ireland.
The Blaris Road was particularly badly effected by the torrential rain and remained closed to through traffic for over a week.
Motorists were forced to ease their way through surrounding roads, including the Eglantine Road, which had flooded in several places during the past week.