Brixham rallies together in face of Cryptosporidium outbreak

Brixham rallies together in face of Cryptosporidium outbreak

A disabled Brixham mum-of-three and a local businessman have joined forces to buy bottled water to give to vulnerable Brixham residents during the local Cryptosporidium outbreak. So far they have handed out £750 worth of bottled water in two days and are hoping to be able to provide more tomorrow.

The kind-hearted initiative was set up by 34-year-old Mary Allwood as, at the time, there were no water stations being provided in Brixham by South West Water (SWW). She heard how people were struggling following the outbreak which has contaminated drinking water.

The nearest water supply point had been four miles away in Paignton but today, May 16, SWW set up a water station in Freshwater Quarry Car Park in Blackball Lane, Brixham. However, Mary says there are still vulnerable people in the community without bottled water.

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Mary's effort to help saw 150 free packs put outside Torbay Fruit and Vegetables in Fore Street, Brixham, this morning. Deliveries are also being made to elderly and disabled residents in the town.

Free bottled water packs outside Torbay Fruit and Vegetables in Brixham
Free bottled water packs outside Torbay Fruit and Vegetables in Brixham -Credit:Mary Allwood

Mary said: "My elderly neighbour is nearly 90 years old and when I knocked on her door at 5pm yesterday to give her some water she thought I was from SWW. She had been sat waiting on a stool in her hallway since 10am for them to come because as she is deaf she was worried she would miss hearing them come.

"There are still so many vulnerable people not getting bottled water so with the fruit shop being a central location in the town, myself and a local businessman who has paid for the additional water decided to distribute it from there.

Mary Allwood has helped pay for some bottled water to help vulnerable people ensure they have water to drink -Credit:Mary Allwood
Mary Allwood has helped pay for some bottled water to help vulnerable people ensure they have water to drink -Credit:Mary Allwood

"We put out 150 packs of 24 bottles at 11.30am this morning and they were gone within less than two hours. We have another 55 packs which are currently being delivered free of charge.

"I posted what we were doing on Facebook and people are still contacting me saying they are either disabled, vulnerable or can't get out and need help with water."

Bottled water loaded in a van to distribute outside Torbay Fruit and Vegetables -Credit:Mary Allwood
Bottled water loaded in a van to distribute outside Torbay Fruit and Vegetables -Credit:Mary Allwood

Explaining why she is helping others when she also suffers from her own health problems, she said: "If something is wrong I always like to help people if I can. I did the same in lockdown.

"We are trying to get more water to do the same tomorrow but it is dependent on if it is available."

SWW bottled water collection points are at Broadsands Car Park in Paignton and Freshwater Quarry Car Park in Brixham. Earlier today, long queues were reported at Broadsands Car Park.

Yesterday, May 15, SWW confirmed it had detected 'small traces' of the organism in Alston and the Hillhead area of the coastal town - less than 24 hours after stating it was safe to drink the water after all its water supply tests had come back clear.

The latest data supplied by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) was publicised yesterday, May 15, when it announced 22 confirmed cases. It has not been disclosed where those people live but the 'majority' are in Brixham, according to the agency.

SWW has issued a boil water notice to around 16,000 households and businesses in the area, advising them not to use their tap water for drinking or washing without boiling and cooling it first. It is said to be continuing to address the source of the outbreak of the parasite infection that causes symptoms including watery diarrhoea, stomach pains, dehydration, weight loss and fever, which can last for two to three weeks.

Customers on its priority register are said to be being delivered bottled water to their homes.