Residents of a Yorkshire town ravaged by floods enjoy a very belated Christmas dinner


Residents in West Yorkshire have finally been able to sit down and enjoy Christmas dinner - six months to the day after flood sirens rang out warning of rising waters.

Today's Calder Valley scene was wholly different to what had faced residents on Boxing Day 2015 after December's unprecedented rainfall forced any planned festivities to be cancelled as it became submerged underwater.

But on a sunny June 25 and teaming sunglasses with Christmas hats, revellers in the market town of Hebden Bridge and neighbouring Mytholmroyd today raised their glasses to a belated Christmas Day as they partied up and down the same street which only months ago had been turned into a river.

Man dressed as Santa
(Ian Hodgson/PA)

With the weather on their side, the sounds of We Wish You A Merry Christmas and Jingle Bells sounded out in the town square which had been unreachable after the River Calder burst its banks.

Despite sandbags still in situ serving as a reminder of the devastation, throngs of people who had helped in the aftermath of the devastation turned out to what was dubbed Hebden Royd Alternative Christmas Day.

Hundreds of people flocked to the two towns which saw street parties, live music, a Christmas market and plenty of mulled wine.

Members of Hebden Bridge junior band
(Ian Hodgson/PA)

Many of the businesses that had succumbed to the water chose today to officially re-open, declaring that the area was "open for business" following six long months of tears and hard work.

And volunteers who had helped with the clean-up operation enjoyed Christmas dinner with all the trimmings in the sunshine as Santa wished everyone a "Merry Christmas".

Many of the revellers in attendance had been unable to celebrate Christmas - instead making desperate attempts to move their possessions and goods to higher levels - only to see flood water rise above windows and doors.

Christine Davenport dressed as Mrs Christmas
(Ian Hodgson/PA)

Kerry Wheelwright from the Hebden Bridge Community Association, who helped oversee the event, said the day had been born following the reoccurring comment that: "Christmas would have to be put on hold."

She said: "It's six months on from the floods and the purpose of today is to show the wider community and everyone else that we are open for business and to thank the hundreds who came to help us."

It was on Christmas Day last year that the warning from the former air raid siren bellowed out. At 7am on Boxing Day people were woken to another drill before being forced out of their homes and businesses.

Christmas dinner is served in Hebden Bridge
(Ian Hodgson/PA)

In the days following the floods, in excess of 750 people descended on the valley to offer their help ,including the Army.