Calder Valley floods: Residents faced huge repair bills

Flood anniversary.Marc and Judi Chrysanthou outside their home in Stubbing Sqaure, Hebden Bridge.
Flood anniversary.Marc and Judi Chrysanthou outside their home in Stubbing Sqaure, Hebden Bridge.

Insurance issues, massive refurbishment projects and huge credit card bills - just some of the problems faced by residents affected by last summer’s flood.

Many were forced to live upstairs during repair work, while some had to move out and stay with family and friends.

Marc and Judi Chrysanthou, of Stubbings Square, Hebden Bridge, had two-and-a-half feet of water in their living room.

“We had to move out because we needed new floors, a new kitchen, the whole works,” he said.

“We were out of our home for nine to ten months.

“In retrospect, we look back and think that was a bit stressful but we just got on with it.

“We thought it was only going to take a couple of weeks but things seemed to go on and on.

“The positive side is it made us have a clearout.”

Their experiences over the past 12 months have led to Marc carrying out fundraising projects and both he and Judi have joined a local flood forum.

“Next time we want to be more proactive,” he said.

“We meet regularly and are trying to initiate projects that are going to make people more aware of flood risk and hoping to get some funding for more remedial work to stop the floods happening again.”

Pam Parnell estimates it has cost her £30,000 to refurbish her home on Commercial Street, Todmorden.

“The first few weeks were horrendous,” she said.

“All the furniture was washed away.

“It’s surprising how much we have and how much it cost to replace things.

“It’s a good job that I’ve got a credit card with a high limit on it.

“Trying to get money out of an insurance company is very difficult. Everything came to a grinding halt.

“I had to buy all of my furniture on a credit card.

“Luckily they put the money in the bank five days before the payment was due.

“It was the middle of November before we got things sorted.

“It’s fine now, except we get a bit concerned when it rains.”

Christine Bampton-Smith, of Calder Grove, Mytholmroyd, had to rescue chickens from her garden when the flood struck.

“The garden was four feet under water. It came up to my waist,” she said.

“We had 11 chickens who were absolutely petrified.

“We didn’t dare go to bed as we were worried the water was going to come into the house.”

Her cellar was under several feet of water and her home had to undergo an extensive refurbishment project.

She thanked the Community Foundation for Calderdale for its help for flood victims, and everybody who is working hard on flood prevention in the local community.

Nader Fekri, whose home on Hope Street, Hebden Bridge, was flooded, said: “The main thing that struck me was the amazing amount of energy that it released within the community - people pulling together and helping each other out.

“I think it showed that when the going gets tough, the communities of the upper Calder Valley really come into their own. I‘m so incredibly proud to be one of them.”