LETTERS: Awed by the compassion of strangers

The Duke of York visited flood victims in Calderdale.
The Duke of York visited flood victims in Calderdale.

I am writing to express my sadness for those throughout the valley who have been affected by the recent floods.

I know that for many people it will be months before their lives return to anything resembling normality and the impact on daily life is considerable.

However, I have been awed by the generosity and compassion shown by so many people in responding to the needs of total strangers.

This is a warm and sensitive community and I am proud to have witnessed the selfless way in which people from all walks of life worked together to support those most in need. It is impossible to name all of those involved in the two weeks following the incident, but a special thanks must go the Mayor of Todmorden Stephanie Booth, for her leadership at a time of crisis.

Thanks to all of the local companies who responded immediately with products and food and to everybody who turned up at the town hall to volunteer their time and skills. You are amazing people.

My thanks to everybody who supported the visit of HRH The Duke of York and apologies to everybody affected by the time delays.

The visit was arranged at such short notice and the alterations to the schedule prevented the Duke being able to talk to as many people as originally planned. He has conveyed his thanks to all involved on the day.

It may be that flooding is an inevitable part of life in this beautiful valley, but I hope that the spirit shown over recent weeks will be reflected in all agencies working together to mitigate the effects of any future events.

There is no single cause for this and therefore no single agency can be held responsible.

All agencies must work together to protect the vulnerable and support them over the coming months and years. In the long term, carbon reduction measures need to kick-in, but we may not see the benefits of this in our lifetime.

In the medium term, we need improved moorland management and reforestation. In the short term, people need government support in conversations with insurance companies in addition to drain clearance and flood defences.

Let’s hope that we can harness the learning from this event and move on to a safer, healthier future for all valley residents.

Kate Moreton-Deakin

Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire