Podcast tells tales of Hebden’s flood spirit

Merry Christmas! Hebden finally celebrated Christmas on June 25.
Merry Christmas! Hebden finally celebrated Christmas on June 25.

An ‘alternative Christmas’ celebrated in the Calder Valley this summer after the Boxing Day floods blighted December’s festive period has been brought to life in a podcast.

After December 26 brought misery to homes and businesses in Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge, Hebden Royd hosted Christmas dinner for 400 flood volunteers and organised a street party, brass bands, choirs, a funfair, street theatre, Christmas trees and markets six months later on June 25.

And now, the second episode of a new series of podcasts by the Canal and River Trust, presented by broadcaster David Bramwell, has focused on the stories of resilient Calder Valley folk finally celebrating Christmas after the miseries of winter.

A spokesman for the trust said: “In this episode, David Bramwell dons his best Santa outfit and joins them for the celebrations.

“Amongst a sound collage of brass bands, choirs and the occasional bagpipe, David unearths the moving stories of those whose businesses and homes were flood-damaged and the extraordinary generosity of those who helped the local area recover, from biker gangs to Canal and River Trust volunteers.

“This is an incredible story of the power of community spirit.”

In June, Kerry Wheelwright, of the Hebden Bridge Community Association and one of the organisers of Hebden Royd Alternative Christmas, said: “As the Calder Valley was so badly devastated, with nearly one thousand businesses flooded, hundreds of homes inundated and hundreds of families displaced, we all needed something to look forward to and this has proved just the job.”

The Canal and River Trust podcast is available on iTunes or at the trust’s website canalrivertrustwaterfront.org.uk/community/waterfront-podcast- christmas-in- hebden-bridge.

David Bramwell has worked extensively with BBC Radio 3 and BBC radio 4, winning a Sony Award for Best Feature for his docudrama The Haunted Moustache.