Calderdale’s community spirit shines through after more floods batter the district

Flooding the Calder River at Callis Bridge in Todmorden
Flooding the Calder River at Callis Bridge in Todmorden

Calderdale’s community spirit shone through the rain as more floods battered the region.

It was thought that around a month’s worth of rain fell in one day last weekend in the Calder Valley as flood sirens sounded, roads were closed, train services were cancelled and numerous basements and cellars were flooded at homes in Hebden Bridge, Todmorden and Mytholmroyd.

Flooding in Hebden Bridge on Saturday, March 16. Photo by Otto Ziener

Flooding in Hebden Bridge on Saturday, March 16. Photo by Otto Ziener

Park Road in Elland was also closed, while the River Calder burst its banks at Bridge End in Rastrick, with the water reaching the Daisy Road car park and the outside the ROKT activity centre.

But the borough’s community responded with offers of help and support as the area once again rallied round in times of need.

Among those praised for their response were Alan Franklin and Trevor Bannister, who helped clear cellars and basements of water and provided jet washing in the Calder Valley, all free of charge.

Trevor, 53, a volunteer member of the flood support team in the Calder Valley, said: “It’s not been too serious this time. It could have been a lot worse than it was. It wasn’t as heavy as it might have been.

Flooding in Hebden Bridge on Saturday, March 16. Photo by Otto Ziener

Flooding in Hebden Bridge on Saturday, March 16. Photo by Otto Ziener

“As bad as it was with the roads closed and some basements flooded, the valley’s fared a lot better than it could have done.

“Alan and myself have been helping out in basements, jet washing. Anything that people need doing flood-related to help them out.

“As always, the community have been fantastic. They always rally round and help each other out in times of need, and this time has been no different.

“Whether it’s been getting sandbags out, or helping with flood defences, people have helped out.”

Flooding of a field in West Vale

Flooding of a field in West Vale

Trevor said the Calder Valley escaped flooding on the scale of Boxing Day in 2015.

“It’s possibly more comparable to 2012,” he said. “Had it rained for another 24 hours then it could have been another Boxing Day, but it would be very unusual to get such prolonged rainfall.

“What we had this time was persistent rain, rather than intense rain it just rained for a long time.

“It didn’t rain as much as it did on Boxing Day. But we avoided that by quite a narrow margin.

Ben Bush

Ben Bush

“I’m not aware there was any property flooded in the lived-in parts such as living rooms or kitchens. One lady said it got to five-and-a-half feet deep in her cellar. There were a few near misses. A lot of the properties affected weren’t in the valley. We went to one in the hills above Hebden, and The Pack Horse at Widdop, which is on the hills. They had four foot of water in their cellar.”

Sara Hollinrake, landlady of the Pack Horse Inn, said: “We’re the last place you would think would be affected. It comes off the moors and gets through the walls. It was a very stressful weekend but Alan (Franklin) and Trevor were superb. They stayed for three hours pumping water from the cellar and came back on Sunday morning and spent another three hours here helping. They’re really super guys. They help restore your faith in humanity.”

Elland estate agent Ami Baxter also came to the rescue of some stray horses in a flooded field near the viaduct in West Vale.

“Me and a friend found the owner there with no way of getting the horses to safety,” she said.

“The field was almost completely covered in water apart from a small patch near the gate. Two of the horses had not been handled, so were pretty much wild.

“I went to get my own horse trailer and finally managed to get the horses to safety after a long struggle, getting the bigger two horses into the trailer as they had not been around people much, so were very scared.

Robin Tuddenham

Robin Tuddenham

“I transported them to another field and then moved them back the following day once the water had gone down.”

Keith Crabtree, Todmorden flood warden, said: “We suffered what could be described as a near miss. Do not take that the wrong way as we did suffer some flooding resulting in the roads and railways being closed.

“The railway was badly affected in Walsden, where I understand the line flooded as a result of the canal overflowing.

“This caused water to flow into Walsden and flood the main road through the village.

“Flooding also occurred on Halifax Road outside the new Lidl store and at Callis Bridge.”

Fire crews have been praised for their efforts during the weekend’s flooding that wreaked havoc in Calderdale.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service attending nine flood-related incidents in the borough on Saturday and Sunday.

These included pumping water out of around 20 homes on Halifax Road in Todmorden, the flooding of the basement of a pub on King Street in Sowerby Bridge and dealing with the flooded basements at a row of 20 terraced houses on George Street in Mytholmroyd.

Group Manager Ben Bush said: “Crews worked really hard on Saturday helping to protect the community including people in houses and cars, as well as local businesses.

“We had officers in a Calderdale-based flood room and Bradford police station - working in partnership with the police was really useful.

“Our control room also did a great job of allocating resources where they were most needed.

“We did our best to stop major damage across the areas of West Yorkshire affected by flooding - our crews did a fantastic job.”

Calderdale Council’s Chief Executive, Robin Tuddenham, said: “Once again, Calderdale people showed their incredible kindness and resilience, with dozens of people working tirelessly to care for each other, help keep others safe and clean up affected areas. I was out and about during Saturday speaking to staff and wardens, all of whom acted promptly to support the flood response.

“Thank you to teams at the council and partner organisations, flood wardens, volunteers and members of communities across the borough, who gave their all to help people affected by the flooding.”