Flooded gym in Lancaster proved to be a blessing in disguise

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A fitness fanatic who bought a gym for her 50th birthday lost everything when Storm Desmond hit Lancaster.

Jackie Sweet was devastated when flood waters filled the basement where Gymophobics was housed just five days after her birthday, wiping everything out.

But with the help of members, Jackie was able to set up her business in new premises which opened just 10 days later.

Jackie, who has worked in fitness for 18 years said: “I took over the franchise on November 1 and the floods happened just over a month later and five days after my 50th birthday.

“I just thought ‘what have I done’ but I thought if I don’t sort it now I never will.

“It was a bit of a shock when it flooded because everything was in the basement of the Glasshouse on Chapel Street, all we saved were members cards.

“On the Saturday (December 5) the landlord rang and said it was flooding, we lifted everything we could up on the shelves (apart from the equipment) and put a message on Facebook asking if any members could come and help.

“I could see the huge puddle up by Wetherspoons and it came over my wellies.

“There was water up to the top of the stairs and there was a life shaft and two air vents which were flooded and hydraulic fluid had leaked from the lift shaft into the water.

“The landlord managed to pump most of the water out and we were able to get in with torches but there wasn’t anything to save. All of the machine and equipment was ruined.

“I had leased the equipment previously, but I had to buy it all again, which was a big expense.

“I had to produce an insurance certificate to get flood relief and unfortunately I hadn’t got round to getting insurance.

“The equipment we lost was worth £17k and I had to pay £10k to buy new equipment.

“But some people have lost their businesses and their homes.

“We lost everything but we just had to kick in gear and get it sorted.”

Luckily, Jackie found new premises at Riverway House and after loading all the old equipment onto vans and taking it to Stafford, and picking the new equipment up, she was able to get her business up and running again.

She said: “The members have been brilliant and we have even gained a few since we moved.

“I just have to move onwards and upwards.

“A lot of people have been saying it’s a blessing in disguise moving in here.”