The area’s worst flooding for over 50 years left the centre of Padiham looking like a scene from a disaster film today.
But the people of Padiham geared themselves up for the biggest clean up operation with a smile on their faces and a mop and bucket in hand!
Businessman Pete Rostron, whose shop A1 Motors, was flooded out described the event as “Padiham’s finest hour.’’
He told the Express: “The people of Padiham have come out in force to help us without hesitation.
“They were here first thing asking what they could do. When I arrived at the shop this morning there must have been 120 people here ready to help. My wife, Lemone, and I had to take a moment out because we were so touched by the response.’’
Armies of volunteers gathered to help with the clean up which was organised by 22-year-old Jordan Taylor, a teaching assistant at St Leonard’s Primary. After appealing for help on facebook hundreds of people turned out this morning at 9-30am to help clean up town centre shops and businesses that were three feet under water on Boxing Day.
Jordan said: “This is my town and I wanted to do something to help. The response has been tremendous and we will be here until the job is done.’’
Burnley and Padiham MP Mrs Julie Cooper visited the scene and Padiham’s Mayor Coun. Jean Cunningham was also on hand to help out.
She said: “I am absolutely devastated by what has happened but also uplifted to see the community pulling together like it has.
“This is what makes Padiham the great town it is, thank you to everyone who has turned out.’’
Padiham firefighters were on hand to pump water out of shops and workers from Lancashire County Council used special equipment to pump out hundreds of gallons of water from the town hall cellar. The flood destroyed the building’s prized sprung dancefloor in the ballroom which was due to be re-polished next week.
Coun. Cunningham said: “The whole floor may have to come up and be replaced because it was just under two foot of water.’’
Hordes of volunteers spent hours trying to salvage what they could from Padiham Medical Centre and from Tuesday upstairs rooms will be used as a surgery for those who need to visit their GP.
A makeshift donation point set up in the town attracted dozens of bags of donated clothes, toys, cleaning items and cash. From Tuesday the Santander bank will be the official collection point for anyone who wishes to donate items.
Nicola Giles, who ran the stall, said: “People have been coming from all over to see what we need and how they can help. One lady even came in a taxi from Burnley with items she wanted to donate.’’
Tesco store donated cleaning items for the volunteers and local Scouts set up a stand serving hot drinks and sandwiches for the volunteers.