Hello all, I have tried to write this over the last couple of evenings but it has been so difficult to do and I have been so physically and mentally drained that it became impossible. However, this morning, I can do it!! so here goes …
As many of you are aware, and surprisingly some are not, Hebden Bridge was sadly a victim on Friday night to the elements and the forces of nature that we cannot control. The rain did not stop all day and the town was battered by a month’s worth of rainfall in 24 hours which unfortunately the hillside and rivers could not cope with. Where does it come from? Where does it go? The strength, power and force that the water had on the town caused devastation on a grand scale but also one that confused me somewhat with many businesses thankfully surviving whilst others completely hammered.
I’m not sure if you all know that my husband and I have another business in Hebden Bridge on Bridge Gate, The Milk Bar, which is a fabulous fifties diner inspired milkshake bar and ice-cream parlour. So, when the flood sirens went off around 8pm we both left our cosy home up in the hills to go down to the town to see what was happening. We met Heidi from Rubyshoesday, and also saw Ellen from The Yorkshire Soap Co, and realised that actually this was starting to look a little grim and we had not yet had any sandbags delivered!
What could we do? We went in and raised what we thought would be enough and went home with fingers, toes and everything else crossed! I went over the tops but Bart went along the bottom and nearly didn’t make it through Mytholmroyd! We knew then that Friday night would be a very long night indeed!
After a night of not really sleeping as I watched the flood unfold via social media the journey into Hebden Bridge was a very nervous one and I have to say I was both surprised and shocked at what I saw! Where had all the water gone?
How had it left so much carnage behind?
Heart Gallery has not been as badly hit as some of our fellow neighbours on Market Street so the scale of devastation is really weird and very difficult to understand; some businesses are not affected and open as normal and others have lost their entire stock – it really is nearly the most sickening thing I have had to witness first hand and never want to see this scale of damage again in a town so full of independent small businesses.
When the town woke up on Saturday morning I have to say the offers of help from customers, friends, fellow business neighbours not affected and just randoms was truly amazing to see with offers of help, mops, buckets, bin bags, coffee, cake turning up constantly throughout the day. Many of those who came to help me I sent further down Market Street to Sage & Onion, Dynamite, Rubyshoesday and Aline Outdoors as their needs were far greater than mine.
I have seen the very best in people over the last few days, a special big shout out to Giles (Heart Gallery customer) who turned up mop in one hand and coffee in the other very early and also helped to secure the front doors at the end of Saturday as we were on alert for another night of floods (which thankfully didn’t come). And I have seen the very worst, youths and people being disrespectful to businesses clawing through damaged stock out on the streets, condescending comments and a teenage girl kindly offering her services …. for £7 an hour! Calderdale Council were quick to get in to Hebden Bridge to help take away the many items piling up on the pavements and very early Sunday morning were trying to clean the streets too to help make the town look great again.
Our town will look great again, but it may take some time with some businesses open long before others, and when we are all back up and running we will need you, our townsfolk, our friends, our family, our loyal customers back in force supporting and spending and keeping it totally locally.
Here are a few pictures of the river Friday night and some kindly emailed through to me of neighbouring businesses affected so badly with some losing more than half of their stock; this will show you how invasive this flood has been for us all in Hebden Bridge as even those physically not affected at home or work are mentally affected – go on line and google for more images of our schools, our cinema etc and there is a flood relief fund also here.
I will second the sentiments in these signs now placed in the window at The Yorkshire Soap Company and hope to see visitors flocking back to a great town of great shops very soon xXx
Tags: "Hebden Bridge", Alpine Outdoors, calder, calderdale, Dynamite, flood, flooding, floods, Heart Gallery, Milk Bar, river, Rubyshoesday, Sage & Onopn, The Milk Bar, The Yorkshire Soap company, West Yorkshire, ysoap