Calderdale floods: Community effort is hailed as ‘magnificent’

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As the flood relief and clean-up operation continues across Calderdale, stories of the amazing efforts of volunteers and community organisations shine through the devastation and ruin.

Hundreds descended to our borough to offer help in any way they could - from cooking meals and manning flood hubs to clearing debris and more.

Mayor of Hebden Royd, councillor James Fearon, reflected on what he saw in the aftermath of the Christmas weekend.

“In our greatest need both the towns of Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd were not to be let down,” councillor Fearon said.

“The magnificent response of our community, in the way in which everyone rallied around with great humility.

“Courageously people got on with the job of starting to restore the area from the severe damage caused by the flooding.

“The most popular phrase I heard, was people coming along to scenes of devastation quietly saying ‘Can I help?’. Those who rescued people, sometimes at the risk of their own safety, can only restore our belief in people.

“The support from various outside communities, travelling considerable distances throughout the country to help out people in distress was both touching and heartwarming.

“I am sure it gave people a new confidence in the multicultural nature of our society.

“We have all had time to reflect on the Boxing Day floods and we begin see a bigger picture. It is very important to sustain a positive solution focused approach in order to rebuild the stability of our communities.

“And out of which we all can develop a directional plan which secures the infrastructure of towns. The fact is we are all going to have to confront the problem of climate change and the effect it has our community’s economy and adapt accordingly.

“This will require us to identify what is needed, develop a solution based approach. It will be essential that we work on this in a collaborative way.”

Dramatic pictures of a minivan being removed from the River Calder in Hebden Bridge serve as a reminder of the sheer force of the flood water.

The van was swept away during the floods and had been in the water since the deluge swept through the borough. Environment Agency workers used a crane to winch the bus from the river - you can view a video of the removal operation on our website.

Meanwhile, Friendly Brass Band has lived up to its name by helping out musicians from the Calder Valley who were flooded out of their home on Boxing Day.

The band has offered a temporary home to Hebden Bridge Junior Band whose own storage and rehearsal rooms were left under several feet of water.

The youngsters managed to save most of their instruments, but fear others are beyond repair. Music, banners, outfits and memorabilia were also lost when their base at Holme Street Arts Centre was flooded.

Thanks to the work of the local community, the Dusty Miller was able to reopen its doors in style on Wednesday night.

The pub still doesn’t have a working cellar or kitchen, the beer pumps are unusable due to contamination and most of the stock has been destroyed.

But landlady Carole Pollitt was determined to open. With the help of Calderdale Rising and volunteers, she welcomed welcomed hundreds of locals through her doors once again.

On Saturday, McDonalds at Salterhebble hosted a fun day for schools affected by flooding. £250 was raised each for Burnley Road Academy and Riverside Junior School.