How Longridge opened its doors to flood evacuees

The devastation in the Ribble Valley
The devastation in the Ribble Valley

As Lancashire was placed on a rare “red alert’ weather warning - meaning a danger to people’s safety - during the early hours of Boxing Day - a ‘rest centre’ was opened up at Longridge Civic Hall.

Rest Centre Manager Hazel Hargreaves, who manned the Boxing Day day shift, said the centre was set up for any potential flood victims after severe flood warnings were given for the villages of Ribchester and Whalley.

The residents have been wonderful

Rest Centre Manager

She said they had been inundated with “absolutely enormous offers of help” from the local community for everything they could possibly need, be it tea and coffee, cakes, hot food, toilet rolls, etc and had taken everyone’s names and numbers, for which they were extremely grateful.

“The residents have been wonderful,” she said.

Police had been knocking on people’s doors in Ribchester and Whalley, asking residents if they wanted to be evacuated, but she believed no-one had wanted to leave their homes and come to the hall.

“We are just waiting for evacuees and to offer shelter, food, warmth and dry clothes if needed,” she said at the time.

She explained the ‘Emergency Response Team’ was run by Lancashire County Council and its teams were made up of council employees, but all were volunteers.

There were 12 team leaders and between 40-50 volunteers, some of whom had been out in recent weeks to Lancaster, Whalley and St Michael’s.

She later confirmed the team had been “stood down” at 10pm on Boxing Day because the high tide wasn’t going to be as devastating as had originally been believed and said she again wished to thank the community for their “enormous offers of help”.

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