He’s proving to be the man they all want in their home at Christmas.

Not Santa but Huddersfield cleaning guru Darrel Sykes, who has just spent the past 14 days working around the clock to help clean up after the horrific Cumbria floods.

Darrel, of Dalton, and his wife Bev run the Chem-Dry franchise and their services have been much in demand since torrents of floodwater, mud and debris swept through thousands of homes and businesses earlier this month.

The flood water has subsided, although some houses in the fells are stilll suffering, but behind it has left a stinking mess.

Darrel and stepson Jack Gibson are taking machinery including de-humidifiers and gas-powered speed dryers into homes to try and help with the clean up.

It’s a thankless task.

“This morning I was at a farmhouse in Keswick and the water is still running through the house from the fells.

“There are still flooding problems in many areas and it’s going to be a long job.

Darrel Sykes ready to move into another house in Carlisle to clean up after the floods

“In some of the houses we have been to, the water reached more than five feet deep and even though it has gone, it has left behind silt and mess over the worktops and the furniture.

“We get the houses dried out and then use other equipment to sanitise things, but it will be a long time before things get back to normal for these people.

“We do get a lot of satisfaction in being able to help these people. Flooding is a very emotional thing as it causes a lot of damage but people appreciate the help we are giving”.

Darrel and Bev have run the Golcar-based franchise for almost 20 years and normally work on contract cleaning jobs, as as the John Smith’s Stadium.

Darrel Sykes works on a house in Appleby

But they are part of a nationwide team called in for emergency situations and responded to the Cumbria floods within hours.

“I have been here for 14 days without a break and I’ll be here until late on Christmas Eve,” said Darrel. “I’ll have a short break at home but then be back in Cumbria just after Christmas. There is a lot to do”.

The Prince of Wales brought some much needed Christmas cheer to flooded out homeowners on a trip to Cumbria.

READ MORE: Cumbria floods: University of Huddersfield's Dr Julia Meaton calls for 'radical' re-think on flood prevention

READ MORE: Floods in Huddersfield: Firefighters battle floodwater as torrential rain causes misery

The royal visitor saw for himself the devastation wreaked by Storm Desmond earlier this month as Dorothy and David Richardson, both aged 72, showed him around the downstairs of their home on Warwick Road in Carlisle.

The Prince of Wales talks to Keith Wright as he visits residents of Warwick Road in Carlisle to view flood damage and learn about ongoing repair work.
The Prince of Wales talks to Keith Wright as he visits residents of Warwick Road in Carlisle to view flood damage and learn about ongoing repair work.

The neat three bed semi, flooded for the third time as the storm hit, was left under more than two feet of water.

It means the couple will not be home for Christmas - it will be September until their house of almost 50 years is habitable again.

Accompanied by four of their grandchildren, Matthew, 18, Lucy, 14, Molly, 11 and Henry, aged eight, they showed Charles the holes in the bare floorboards of their now empty downstairs living rooms and kitchen, still drying out until the flooring and plaster can be replaced.