It was business as usual in Padiham as the town stood defiant this week against the horrific floods.
Padiham was devastated by the storms on Boxing Day as the River Calder burst its banks with businesses and houses in the centre under water.
While families lost valuable possesions, many businesses had their livelihoods threatened with some not insured against flood damage.
But the community and the council have rallied round to make sure that, while the floods are a major setback, they will not ruin the thriving centre.
“You have got to carry on,” said Eric Broadbelt who has owned The Hardware Shop in Padiham for around 16 years. “We were so lucky as the water just avoided the electrics otherwise, when we came into the shop, the water would have been live and it could have been more than just stock which was damaged.
“There is still a lot of stuff to do and it is devastating but we have to carry on.”
We are lucky to be alive as we were in the unit when the water started coming in and at first we tried to stop it but then we realised we couldn’t. We just managed to get out before the water took over.Tariq Parvez at Padiham Cabs
Cafe bar Mooch was also under water and part-owner Alison Brown is determined it will open on Saturday for coffee and cakes as a sign that they will not be beaten by the elements. “We had just bought a new oven, three new fridges and a new microwave and thankfully three out of the five are still working with the other two still to be tested,” said Alison.
“We aren’t insured for flood damage but we started with not a lot but with a lot of help and we will carry on the same way.”
Joiner Jonathan Fleming, from Colne, had seen how badly hit Padiham was and raced over to help out at Mooch.
“I just wanted to do my bit and give something back to the community. I didn’t want to see everyone stuck.”
Tariq Parvez at Padiham Cabs, based at the badly-hit Riverside Mill, lost half of his fleet – six of his 12 cabs are now out of action.
“We are lucky to be alive as we were in the unit when the water started coming in and at first we tried to stop it but then we realised we couldn’t. We just managed to get out before the water took over.
“Around five or six of our cars have been destroyed at what would have been the busiest time of the year.
“It’s devastating but what can you do? The phones aren’t working properly at the moment, we are in shock but it’s a natural disaster and we will clean up and carry on.”
Harry Nugent runs morevansales.co.uk from Riverside Mill on Lune Street and Wire Street and he was disappointed with Burnley Council.
“They have made sure those in the centre have had help but, by Tuesday morning, we hadn’t had any and I have phoned to complain.
“Riverside Mill is a complex of 16 self-employed people and we have been left on our own to sort it out and I have had to buy our own skips.
“Eight of my vans are under water and destroyed but, saying that, I sold two vans yesterday so it hasn’t stopped us.”
BEL Precision Engineers is in the same unit and owner Bill Lutz admitted: “We have machinery which is worth £120,000 and we can’t test it yet to see if it is still working.
“I have been in business 30 years and never seen anything like it. It is devastating and we have to let everything dry out and take it from there.”
Talk of the Town’s second hand shop, based downstairs, was destroyed but upstairs, where their fancy dress outfits are, was mostly safe.
“The owner Margaret Clough is 77 and shaking as she has never experienced anything like this,” said worker Janet Barrett. “Everything downstairs will have to go, like sofas, mattresses and electric items, but the fancy dress stock upstairs thankfully hasn’t been touched.”
Padiham Medical Centre is open as usual, with the surgeries upstairs surviving the elements.
Practice Manager Des McEvoy said: “We have had to throw a lot of vaccines away and are awaiting a new fridge and new supplies.
“We had to work a lot in the dark with no electricity but we were inundated with people asking if they could help.
“Thankfully we have upstairs and everyone has rallied around.”
Burnley and Padiham Town Centre Manager Catherine Price said: “The council have been working hard.
“We have had Street Scene collecting waste and cleaning up – and more will be collected this week.
“Lancashire County Council have pumped cellars and helped with a diversion.
“The community has come out in force - everyone has shown a great community spirit.”
Mayor of Padiham Jean Cunningham said: “Lancashire County Council have supplied 500 sandbags as there are predictions of more bad weather.
“It’s been devastating to see. The ballroom floor in the town hall was under two foot of water and so we are still assessing that damage.”
Coun.Andy Tatchell added: “The youth centre is full of supplies, such as cleaning products, as people have been very generous.”