Heavy rain sinks houseboat

Bryony and Gen

Bryony and Gen - Credit: Archant

Disaster leaves woman homeless and friends fundraising for repairs

Bryony and Gen2

Bryony and Gen2 - Credit: Archant

A community has banded together to help a neighbour who become homeless after her barge sank in heavy rain just after her 30th birthday two weeks ago.

Genevieve Dunne was at a music festival when she received the news that her beloved barge, affectionately named Bryony, had become submerged in Regents Canal after a bout of severe rainfall.

As well as extensive damage to the boat she has called home for the past two years, water destroyed all of Genevieve’s furniture, clothes, and personal possessions.

She said: “Nothing really sunk in until I stepped into Bryony and it was completely overwhelming. All of my stuff submerged with water. I’m studying homeopathy and all of my remedies were lost too. Apart from Bryony the thing that meant the most to me is my remedies as I had a whole beautiful pharmacy. That whole collection would have taken absolutely years to build.”

Genevieve was taking Bryony’s loss in her stride, she said. “You come with nothing you and leave with nothing. I needed new carpets. I was thinking about changing the layout – and then Bryony told me to change the carpet and change the layout.”

But Bryony is in far from good health and friends of Genevieve have set up a fundraising page online to help with repairs.

So far the GoFundMe page entitled “Help Bryony Float” has raised more than £5,000 out of a target of £10,000.

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Family friend Eve Squires, who set up the page, said: “Gen says that all she wants is cuddles and company and the odd bit of food to keep her going, but it’s going to take rather more practical help to get her life back. It will cost at least £10,000 to pay for just half of the repairs.

“What happens when someone who always puts others first loses everything they have, everything they own and everything they love overnight? Well, we all pull together and help them right back.”

Genevieve added: “Nothing like this has happened to me before. It’s amazing how much positivity has been brought from such a bad situation. There has been this ripple effect of putting things into perspective. It’s really incredible.

“Once Bryony is completely up and running I am doing a healing course.

“If people were to donate they would be more than welcome to come by for a free massage and healing session.”