Floods defence campaigner dies aged 92



First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Shildon and Spennymoor)

A TENACIOUS flood campaigner who pushed non-stop for better defences for her home town despite being 92 has died.

Great grandmother Topsy Clinch decided to act after 3ft of water surged through her home not long before her 90th birthday.

Refusing to give in quietly she took her fight all the way to Downing Street where she handed in a 4,500 name petition calling for help in 2008.

She also courted publicity by posing in the River Rye near her Pickering home with a settee to show what it means when water flows through your home.

An active member of the Pickering Flood Defence Group her home hit in 2007 in Pickering’s sixth major flood in nine years.

Mrs Clinch, a former nurse with half a century in amateur dramatics and charity work, died at home aged 92 after a short illness.

Howard Keal, of Pickering Flood Defence Group, said: "Topsy had a tremendous fighting spirit and was a wonderful inspiration.

"Topsy always came out smiling however tough things were and went all the way to the top in the battle for flood defences for the town.

"She met the Prime Minister Gordon Brown in Downing Street and was at the heart of the campaign to protect Pickering.

"Topsy loved life and wasn’t phased by anything – even sitting in the middle of the river on a settee to underline what it was like to be flooded.

"I’m sad she isn’t here to see the result of the campaign but at least she knew things were moving in the right direction.

"It was a privilege to know her and it is more important than ever that the final tribute to her determination is for defences to be put in place."

Mrs Clinch qualified in general nursing at Leeds General Infirmary in 1940 and also worked at Purey Cust Nursing Home, York.

She joined York Amateur Dramatic Society and Pickering Musical Society and she raised funds via coffee mornings for the NSPCC.

She is survived by her daughter Ann Leigh, grandchildren Katharine and Oliver Leigh, and great grandchildren Harrison and Luke.

A funeral service will take place at a date to be arranged.

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