Mytholmroyd tackles flood hell aftermath

Volunteers from Hartlepool spend the day in Mytholmroyd.
Volunteers from Hartlepool spend the day in Mytholmroyd.

While the nation’s hearts went out to images of the Calder Valley underwater, many will not have seen the sludge-scattered aftermath in towns like Mytholmroyd.

The town suffered some of the worst floods in living memory as it became submerged under up to six feet of water.

Mytholmroyd Flood. London fifefighters charity tunnel 2 towers help out.

Mytholmroyd Flood. London fifefighters charity tunnel 2 towers help out.

But the water levels returning to normal was just part of the battle, as many businesses and homes now face the battle of re-establishing themselves after the soaking.

Furniture showroom Russell Dean, had its lower showroom completely ruined, leaving them to scrap tonnes of waterlogged stock.

“Everything in the lower showroom was under 5 feet of water,” said company director John Hutchinson. “It’s caused hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage in the store.

“I doubt the showroom will be open for months yet – we can only be thankful our upper showroom that was unaffected.”

Elderly people also faced the strain.

Many flats in the sheltered housing in Elphaborough Close were affected. Jean Fearnley, who lives in the street, was helping out in the local day centre making cups of tea and cooking for other residents.

She said: “There are normally 70-odd people who live in this street, and all but 17 have gone, they are being put up in a hotel in Halifax.

“Everyone who lived on the ground floor flats had their homes ruined. This is the worst it’s ever been, I never even thought anything like this would happen round here.

“Some people have lost everything – one lady came here (the day centre) asking for some knickers.

“But everybody has been fantastic with helping out. The town has really come together.”

Help was also at hand from further afield.

A group of generous volunteers set off at the crack of dawn for a 210 mile round trip from Hartlepool to muck in with their buckets and sweeping brushes.

Steven Picton, who organised the trip, said: “We have done charity events before, so we have experience doing things like this.

“When I saw what was happening here, I felt like I really had to help, so I wrote something on my Facebook and so many people from Hartlepool and Stockton called to say they would help.”

The Tunnel 2 Towers charity also paid a visit from London, and had been stopping in Illingworth Church since New Years Day as they helped with the cleanup.

Calderdale Council said grants of up to £2,500 were available to help businesses open up and start trading again after damage caused by the storm.

Businesses can apply for the grant through the application form on the Council’s website – go to Businesses that are eligible for the grant are small to medium enterprises, charities and other third sector organisations.

A Calderdale Council spokeswoman added: “The Council will be seeking further support from the government and the Leeds City Region, particularly for businesses substantially affected by the floods.