A BLACKHEATH grandfather who drowned after his four wheel drive became wedged under a bridge in flash floods near Bristol has been praised as a “smashing guy”.

John McNair, 77, became trapped in his submerged Mitsubishi 4x4 after trying to cross a swollen ford near the village of Chew Stoke on November 22.

The father-of-three is believed to have been travelling to visit relatives in the area when he was caught in the torrential rain and storms that battered Britain last week.

Firefighters and a swift water rescue team freed Mr McNair from his waterlogged vehicle after receiving a call at 9pm and ambulance crews tried to resuscitate him but he was pronounced dead.

The grandfather-of-10 was an active Conservative Party campaigner and worked alongside leader of Bexley Council Councillor Teresa O’Neill for more than 10 years when he was chairman of East Lewisham Conservative Association.

Cllr O’Neill told News Shopper: “He was a smashing guy. It is such a shame. We had some great times. He kind of brought his business mind to what we were doing.

“He was a tireless campaigner, he always made things fun. He was a really nice [guy].”

Risk of flooding in Lewisham

There are around 21,000 properties said to be at risk of flooding in Lewisham - with only a quarter signed up to receive flood warnings - and the council is urging residents and businesses to take action.

Homes most at risk are near the Thames in areas such as Deptford and New Cross or close to other rivers including the Ravensbourne, Pool and Quaggy.

Deputy Mayor of Lewisham Alan Smith said: “Over past years, Lewisham Council has secured funding to make sure that work has been carried out to make the borough less prone to flooding.

“Work has been completed around Deptford Creek, Cornmill Gardens in central Lewisham and around Hither Green, Bell Green and Chinbrook Meadows.

"Extensive work has also been carried out in Ladywell Fields so, if the River Ravensbourne does flood, it is more likely to do it in park land rather than damage property.”

He added that people are encouraged to check with the Environment Agency to see if their property is at risk and register for free alerts and advice.

To find out if your area is as risk visit environment-agency.gov.uk/flood or sign up by calling 0845 988 1188.

Flooding precautions:
• Keep flood waters out with sandbags from a builders' merchant and covers for air bricks and other vents.
• Buy flood-proof products. A comprehensive list of these can be found in ‘The Blue Pages’ directory on the National Flood Forum’s website www.floodforum.org.uk.
• Check buildings and contents insurance policies to see what cover they provide for flood damage.