Flood-hit communities pull together in our remote rural parishes

Resilient rural communities hit by this week’s devastating floods have been visited and praised by Bishop Helen-Ann Hartley.

Revd Caroline Hewlett, vicar of Swaledale with Arkengarthdale, was one of dozens in Swaledale and Wensleydale forced out of their homes after a deluge filled them with filthy water.

Revd Caroline told Bishop Helen-Ann what happened to her home in Reeth:

“Suddenly there was a three-foot deep torrent of water which tore through the house.

“Flood barriers were swamped and the force of the water broke through the back door.

“The water surged on through the garden and carried my shed to the other side of the farmer’s field across the road,” Caroline said.

She has received many offers of help from the village and church community and is now staying with friends.

“Everyone has been so lovely, my Methodist colleague in the area was the first to call and brought us wellington boots and food as we were trapped upstairs by all the mud and water left on the ground floor,” she said.

At nearby Bellerby, church warden at St John the Evangelist, Dr Chris Wheatley and PCC vice chair Bob Walker pitched in to help friends and neighbours who suffered severe flooding.They introduced Bishop Helen-Ann, together with Ripon Cathedral’s Canon Barry Pyke and Area Dean Penny Yeadon, to people busy moving piles of rubble and debris strewn across their properties by the flood.

“This has been a terrible time for people and there is clearly so much work to be done,” said Bishop Helen-Ann, who was in London when the storms struck.

“But as is so often the case, we are struck by the strength and resilience of these remote rural communities where people pull together in a crisis.”


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