VIDEO: Communities rally as heavy rainfall swept through Ribble Valley

Residents rallied together as heavy rain and strong winds caused havoc in the Ribble Valley over the weekend.

Monday, 18th March 2019, 3:30 pm
Updated Monday, 18th March 2019, 3:33 pm
Fire crews, local residents, parents and even schoolchildren gathered to help Barrow Primary School from flooding

The River Calder and River Ribble burst their banks on Saturday due to severe weather.

Motorists were advised to use alternate routes as Sawley Road, in Sawley, was closed off due to rising river water. Despite the closure, four people had to be rescued from their vehicles.

Glen Dinsdale, acting crew manager for Clitheroe Fire, said: "We initially received a call at 11am. There was a car stuck in flood water in Bolton-By-Bowland. On the way back we were alerted to flooding in Sawley. The river banks had burst and the water level was rising quickly. We made a decision to close the road. This road closure was ignored and as a result three vehicles were left stranded in the flood water. Four people had to be rescued by the fire service with the help of a local farmer and his tractor.

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Fire crews, local residents, parents and even schoolchildren gathered to help Barrow Primary School from flooding

In Barrow, water almost washed through Barrow Primary School. Parents and locals gathered and rolled up their sleeves to ensure the school was not flooded.

Headteacher, Mrs Janet Pay, said the community spirit she witnessed was sensational. She added: "On Saturday morning it was clear that with the heavy rain, Barrow School was starting to have an issue with water run-off from nearby fields, and this was in danger of flooding the school. Lancashire County Council helped with a supply of sandbags to divert the flow of water.

"However, also alerted by the local community, almost 30 people, some parents and children from school, as well as many who had seen a plea via the ‘Whalley and Billington Flood Action Group’ came along to help. Alongside this, the crew of Hyndburn Fire Station attended, and with the use of water booms, they diverted the rainwater into the drains.

She added: “We are amazed and thrilled by the turnout. Once again Barrow parents, children and local residents amazed us. Many people gave up their whole day moving sandbags, brushing water into the drains and making tea, all of which meant water didn’t get into school, and Barrow Primary School was able to open as usual on Monday morning. We are very grateful that so many people, many of whom lived in Whalley and had no immediate connection to our school, gave up their time. There was a real sense of pride and community spirit. "Thank you from all the children and staff of Barrow Primary School.”

Meanwhile, emergency services rushed to Whalley ensuring there was no repeat of the devastating Boxing Day floods of 2015.

Officials from Lancashire County Council attended to the blocked King Street Culvert since Saturday morning and villagers were given hydrosacks by members of Whalley and Billington Flood Action Group.

Kellie Hughes, of Whalley said: "The weather conditions on Saturday were very worrying. There was a lot of surface water on King Street and while I appreciate Lancashire County Council workers coming out and monitoring the situation, the drains have to be cleared of leaves and debris."

Ribble Valley businesses and livestock were affected by the floods too.

A flock of sheep had a lucky escape after rising floodwater forced a Wigglesworth farmer to move them to safety. Thankfully, all the sheep at Pikebar Farm, were rescued, while the Garden Kitchen at Holden Clough Nursery, was forced to close on Saturday. A message on its Facebook page stated: "Due to the weather, all the roads surrounding us are flooded so unfortunately we are having to close."