Enormous gratitude as help and support floods in

I WRITE as mayor of Norton and a resident of St Nicholas Street to thank all those who played their part in helping the town (and Malton and Old Malton) during last week’s floods.

The police, the fire service, the teams from Ryedale District Council and North Yorkshire County Council and the Environment Agency worked tirelessly and did everything possible to prevent a crisis from turning into a much more serious event and those of us who were at risk are immensely grateful to our ‘local heroes’ for this.

The team work that was displayed was the best – the long shifts in sometimes pouring rain and freezing temperatures are a tribute to everyone’s ability to work together and help a community facing a crisis and our sincere thanks must go to them all.

I would also like to offer a huge thank-you to members of the Salvation Army and other local churches and to Next Steps in Church Street who ran a round the clock emergency café providing hot drinks and food to the emergency services throughout the crisis – you were absolutely magnificent giving so freely of your time and energy to keep them fed and watered under such challenging circumstances.

Thanks must also go to local supermarkets and other shops and the students and families from Malton School for their generous donations of supplies to keep the café serving.

Last, but most definitely not least, I would like to thank the community for similarly helping their friends and neighbours to cope – the small acts of generosity and kindness I have seen over the last week just go to show how much this community can pull together when there is a real need. I am sure that in the coming weeks as people start to put their homes and businesses back together there will be more help to come to support people to get back on their feet as this is the sort of community that we are privileged to live in.

There also needs to be some serious conversations with the various authorities to see what can and must be done to stop this sort of incident happening again. The flood defences did a fantastic job of preventing the widespread flooding that we saw in 1999 and 2000, but the surface water and sewer flooding that occurred must be addressed through partnership working and investment by the responsible bodies and I will be calling for these discussions to take place as soon as possible. It is simply unacceptable that some people are still facing flooding in Norton and Malton – especially from a Victorian sewer system that is no longer fit for purpose – and urgent action needs to be taken.

As someone who has personal experience of flooding my heart goes out to those who have been affected this time - I have already had offers of help from local people for anyone who needs replacement furniture and would welcome any more. To those affected please do get in touch if you need any help or support during the coming weeks.

Coun Di Keal, Mayor of Norton

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