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Help flows for flooded St Mary’s

22 December 2016


Deluged: Tadcaster, pictured after the River Wharfe burst its banks, last Christmas

Deluged: Tadcaster, pictured after the River Wharfe burst its banks, last Christmas

LAST Boxing Day, St Mary’s, Tadcaster, was flooded in a matter of minutes, after the flood defences next to the church were breached (News, 1 January). The Vicar of Tadcaster, the Revd Sue Sheriff, described how the town had effectively been cut in two.

This week, she described an “incredible year”. “As a church we continue to feel the amazing support that we have received from the whole community, and it has made us realise that our churches really are at the heart of the local areas.”

The church was full the week after the floods, and today it was “almost completely up and running”, with the organ “sounding better than ever”.

Although the year has been difficult — the benefice was affected worse than was first realised and the loss of the bridge has been “incredibly hard”, hitting traders hard — she feels hopeful for 2017.

In the wake of the flood, gifts were received from some of the poorest parts of the diocese, and the response of the insurance company, Ecclesiastical, meant much of the funding could be passed on to others in need.

“There are those who have bounced back well but there are those who are also deeply traumatised after losing a lifetime of memories, in the form of photos and the like. Some of them moved house, and some businesses are still not back in their own premises.

“Christmas is proving to be particularly distressing for some. One lady I visited has one of her glass Christmas tree baubles on the kitchen window sill still with the traces of the mud from the flood. — a reminder of what happened just a year ago; others have said they haven’t got the heart to put up decorations this year, having most of them destroyed last year. Although the flood fund has been able to help replace many of these.”

The decision by BBC Radio York to record their Christmas Carol Service from Tadcaster has encouraged residents, she said. It was a “service of hope” that featured fire-fighters as shepherds, and Muslim friends who had brought food to those in need as visitors from the East. “Through that we were able to explain that despite the terrible situation new hope was born. . . The bridge may have been broken but our community has grown stronger.”

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