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New Venue For Flood Victim's Flood Restaurant 

Margaret Constable has enjoyed two years off work, but is putting her pinny back on this weekend to go back into catering in a Leamington park.

The Easter Floods of 1998 devastated Warwickshire, and virtually washed away the Riverside Restaurant in the Jephson Gardens. 

It brought an abrupt end to her time at the tourist site, that literally went under that day.

Like many businesses near the banks of the River Leam, traders woke to find water had washed through the buildings, leaving some shops several months away from a reopening - some traders called it a day and never opened their doors again.

Margaret remembers

“I got a call from my son about 7am asking me if the restaurant was OK and I went to have a look and all I thought was ‘Oh My God’.

“All I could see was the roof and the water was running so fast. It turned out later that the building had actually moved.

“It really was horrendous. We tried to clean it up, but it was no good and it would have cost so much for the council to reconnect all the power. We had to give up in the end.”

The site has been boarded up for the last two years, and is set to be demolished and make way for a new larger eating house.

But Margaret has taken a new lease from Warwick District Council - this time for a new site.

Two years on, Margaret, aged 58, is moving to another town park. She is taking over the Victoria Park café this Friday coming and hopes to welcome back her old customers.

She said:

“I will be looking to do a pensioners’ lunch. I don’t think anyone in Leamington caters for that trade and I shall do something about it.

“And I will be serving fresh veg, and it really will be fresh and not frozen like some people do.

“I like Leamington, it is a really nice town and very clean. I am looking forward to meeting my old customers and some of the previous staff are coming back, so I am looking forward to it.

"I have had my rest and want to get on with it now.”

The new site is next to the bowling area. On the menu will be a range of jacket potato, rice, two-course roast and pasta dishes. 

If you want a full all-day breakfast and a drink, it will cost £2.99.

Margaret has been in catering for 10 years. She worked in at a knitting needle factory in Redditch until she was made redundant.

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CWN / Politics / Warwick District Council / 31 Jul 00

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