The clean-up begins

The clean-up begins - draining and scraping machines arrive at Fielden Square on Saturday morning
The clean-up begins - draining and scraping machines arrive at Fielden Square on Saturday morning

FLOODING is a horrible thing, especially when you see the damage it leaves when it recedes, writes John Greenwood, Todmorden News and Hebden Bridge Times reporter.

I have reported on at least five severe floods in Todmorden and Hebden Bridge, worryingly four of them from 2000, and it is heartbreaking to see the damage it leaves behind for householders and businesses.

Once the floodwater goes, that isn’t the end of ths story as the clean-up begins and recovery can take weeks and months.

On Friday night I was unable to get into the Todmorden News office on Fielden Square, one of the areas affected, as there was about two and half to three feet of water in front of it.

Arriving this morning, it was as I expected, as we have seen it here before - a layer of stinking, thick mud coating the office carpets.

I am always amazed how the people of Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Walsden and Mytholmroyd and elsewhere cope with these disasters, in 2000, 2006, 2010 and now June 2012. They get tyhe clean-up started and get on with it, while asking questions as to how it has happened again.

This morning (Saturday) as the council’s pumps, dredgers and scrapers began to clear mud and debris, we have received an emails from people who have been affected in other areas, and some from community groups able to offer early assistance - see separate stories on the website for some of these.

Jonty Shipping, who runs The Toy Shop in Cockermouth, says: “As a shop keeper in the market town of Cockermouth, hit by flooding in November 2009, I know better than most what the flood affected businesses and homes in your area are going through.

“The first thing I would say to you is ‘don’t despair’ things will get better and if you do it right they can even turn out better than before.

“The second is ‘ organise’ get together in mutual support groups. Your shared experience and knowledge will help you in the struggles ahead. The third is ‘reach out’ my own group - Cockermouth and District Chamber of Trade can help with advice, contacts and experience. When we were in need there were many that helped us.

“The next few weeks will set the pattern for your business recovery. Start to plan now and, as much as you can, take control. You will have good days and bad but, if our experience is anything to go by, you can get through it.”

He has provided the contact number 01900 825855 and email chamberoftrade@btinternet.com