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Flooding: Community rallies to help others hit by devastating Boxing Day floods

Vanloads of aid and supplies sent to flood-hit village - and volunteers give up bank holiday to help clean up

A community hit by the Boxing Day floods rallied to help their own – and others worse affected further afield.

People in Mirfield saw the River Calder rise to unprecedented levels, engulfing roads, allotments and playing fields.

Homes escaped the devastation but many small businesses close to the river were flooded out.

People of all religious faiths came together to tackle the floods in Mirfield. Muslims from Dewsbury-based charity group Kumon Y'all helped clean up Newgate outside Kingdom Hall, worship place of Mirfield's Jehovah's Witnesses.

Holme Bank Mills, also known as James Walker’s mill off Station Road, was at least 2ft underwater on Saturday.

The water had subsided by Sunday and on Monday an appeal went out for volunteers to help the clean-up effort.

Around 20 people turned up helping to shift sodden stock and damaged items from Design Contract Flooring and Mirfield Mill Carpets.

Three skiploads were removed as volunteers gave up their bank holiday to help.

Locals Dan Smith, Richard Hartley, Paul Blakeley and Laura Frank set up a Facebook group on Saturday – called Mirfield Christmas Flooding 2015 – to co-ordinate the relief effort.

Flooding in Mirfield

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Dan, site manager at Castle Hall Academy in Mirfield, opened the school for donations of food, drinking water and supplies.

They were inundated with donations and when it became clear that Mirfield homes had escaped the worst of the floods, the group decided to take the supplies to Mytholmroyd instead.

Dan said: “The response has been amazing and people in Mirfield all came together in one mind that they wanted to do something.

“At first we thought the school could become a refuge but fortunately that wasn’t needed. When we first made the appeal for donations I probably thought we’d get a vanload.

“As it turned out we sent three vans and two full cars to Mytholmroyd. If we thought it was bad enough in Mirfield it was nothing to the devastation in Mytholmroyd. It was horrible to see.”

Dan said he wanted to thank everyone who helped. “We were getting offers from as far away as Thornhill and there were people who donated clothing, tins or cleaning products and others who just gave their time.

“We will keep the Facebook group going now as a focal point. As the extent of the damage becomes clear we hope there will be tradesmen and businesses who will offer discounted deals to help people get back on their feet.”

Boxing Day Flooding

Meanwhile, businessman Simon Watts, whose own firm suffered flood damage, was also out helping others.

He lent his van to the Castle Hall volunteers and on Monday was helping the clean up at the British Bung Company in Lowlands Road, Mirfield.

“It’s not good,” he said. “There was still an inch of water inside on Sunday and on Monday there was all the silt and mud. Our first job was to clear the canteen, then jet wash the main warehouse.”

Simon runs Water Hygiene Solutions on the Low Mill Lane industrial estate at Ravensthorpe and is an expert in clean-ups and has industrial wet vacs.

The doors at Simon’s warehouse kept 2ft of floodwater at bay though some seeped through.

“I’ve been lucky,” said Simon. “But others haven’t and that’s why I wanted to do my bit. A lot of businesses have been wiped out. My bit of carpet can be replaced.”

People of all religious faiths came together to tackle the floods. Muslims from Dewsbury-based charity group Kumon Y’all helped clean up Newgate outside Kingdom Hall, worship place of Mirfield’s Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Kumon Y’all volunteers went to help in the Calder Valley on Monday.

Also flooded in Mirfield was the club house at Battyeford Sporting Club in Huddersfield Road. Volunteers cleared sludge from the car park and carpet tiles had to be ripped up inside.

Calder Valley Search & Rescue Team was also called into action after helping out flood victims in Cumbria.

The Bishop of Huddersfield the Rev Dr Jonathan Gibbs visited Sowerby Bridge and stopped off at Christ Church in the village which was set up as a donation point.

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