4th December 2018
On the third anniversary of Storm Desmond, that brought so much devastation to our local community, a well attended gathering in St Paul's Holme Eden became a place to reflect on this and other local floods. 2,100 properties were directly affected by the 2015 floods.
One on the Fire and Rescue team spoke abut his memories of 2015 in Warwick Bridge, 'It was a terrible night but it was fantastic to see how people rallied round and there was a ‘never give in’ attitude, a feeling of ‘we’re stronger than this’. That shone through on the night.'
Other flood events in and around the Warwick Bridge area were also marked during the ‘Flood Stories’ event, including those of 2005 and flash floods in 2011 which badly affected properties in Great Corby.
Mike Crawley and his wife, Liz, were flooded out of their beckside cottage in Great Corby. He said: 'One of my abiding memories is of my wife at our front door with her foot up against it, shouting ‘I can’t hold the water back’. The door was flung open and within minutes we were in four feet of water, with our sofa floating on its side with two cats perched on it. The panic we felt in the immediate aftermath has now subsided to one of slight anxiety. We have a flood plan in place should the same thing ever happen again.' He explained how the local residents gather each year for a BBQ which has deepened the community spirit.
Wetheral resident Pat Howe documented the terrible after-effects of the same cloudburst which saw her garden patio and boundary wall tumble 40 feet into a mill race. 'I could have been in it. I have a little prayer card in my kitchen which says ‘Lord help me to remember that nothing is going to happen today that you and I together can’t handle’.'
Meanwhile Sally Longstaff from Sally’s Tea Room in Warwick Bridge – which has also been affected by flooding - explained how she had opened up her business to provide free food for those affected by the floods of 2015.
Headteacher Mark Ashton spoke on behalf of Warwick Bridge school. Beth Harrison explained how the Warwick Mill was being brought back into service by the North of England Civic Trust. We were pleased to remember that the Down-a-Gate Community Halls are progressing. There is hope, like after the great Biblical flood, where Noah saw a rainbow.
Graeme Skinner concluded, 'What came through forcibly was the resolve of people and the willingness to help each other through adversity. As a church it’s important that we continue to pray for all those people who were affected and also listen without giving quick answers. We’ve heard how good things can come from bad, but we must not tidy the bad things away; there needs to be a balance. I think there’s something of our Christian faith in that. We can’t tidy suffering away but we can walk alongside people offering support and empathy.'
Pictures by Dave Roberts