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Calder Valley celebrates 'Alternative Christmas'

Six months on from the Boxing Day floods which devastated the Calder Valley, residents and business have been celebrating an 'Alternative Christmas' today.

Hebden Bridge celebrate Christmas in June Credit: ITV Yorkshire

The rains which started on Christmas Day saw festivities ruined for many people in both Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd - with hundreds of homes and business left under up to six feet of water.

The town council organised a day of Christmas festivities, with shops encouraged to get out the tinsel and baubles and decorate their businesses - to make up for the soggy Christmas they lost.

Hebden Bridge junior band kicked off the celebrations Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Hebden Bridge Junior Band kicked off celebrations by playing carols around a Christmas tree in the town's St George's Square at 11 am. They were also playing at Mytholmroyd Gala, which started at 12.15 pm, and accompanied there by a choir from Burnley Road Primary School, whose pupils have still not been able to return to their flooded classrooms and continue to be taught elsewhere.

There will be all the fun of the gala in Mytholmroyd, and street entertainment in Hebden Bridge throughout the day.


Flood defences aimed at preventing future disaster

Five months to the day since the Boxing Day floods devastated large parts of Calderdale, new defences costing £10 million have been unveiled in a bid to prevent a repeat of the disaster.

The village of Mytholmroyd was one of those worst affected, when the River Calder burst its banks last year. Hundreds of homes and business were engulfed by up to six feet of water.

The Environment Agency says it hopes the new scheme will help prevent future flooding. But some say more needs to be done. Chris Kiddey has the details.


Flood-hit school's pupils face 5 mile school run

A school devastated by the Boxing Day floods says its 258 pupils will be taught elsewhere for up to six months.

Flood damaged equipment outside Burnley Rd Academy Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Nursery, reception and years 1 and 2 from Burnley Road Academy in Mytholmroyd will travel five miles to Halifax for lessons at Savile Park Primary School's Heath site.

A flooded classroom at Mytholmroyd's Burnley Road Academy Credit: ITV Yorkshire

The rest of the children will go to nearby secondary school Calder High.

Work has begun to repair the damage to the school which is raising funds to replace lost resources.

A flooded classroom at Mytholmroyd's Burnley Road Academy Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Evacuations as centre of Mytholmroyd cut off by floods

Flooding in Mytholmroyd Credit: ITV News Calendar

Residents have been evacuated as a West Yorkshire town was cut off by several feet of flood water. Flood sirens alerted the town of Mytholmroyd, in Calderdale, to the rising waters at about 7am on Boxing Day. The centre of the town was completely under water, with residents worried levels would rise further as the rain continued to fall.

One resident, who did not want to be named, said a man had to be rescued after he tried to drive a Land Rover into the water. He said: "He turned left after coming over the bridge and we just watched horrified as his car was dragged back towards us." The man said emergency services had to use a boat to get to the stranded vehicle before smashing the sun-roof and pulling the driver from the car. He added: "It's horrible. It was last flooded in 2012 and this is worse than it was back then." The man said most of the buildings flooded were businesses but there were a few rows of terraced houses which had been evacuated.

Helen McGarry, 43, who lives just a few feet away from the flood, said she was worried the water would continue to rise. Mrs McGarry said she had lived in Mytholmroyd for about 13 years and had never seen the river so high. She said: "We're slightly concerned at the moment because, for the first time ever, the river's actually come up to our back steps. So, for the first time ever, yes, I'm really worried. I've never seen it this bad, ever."

Emergency services gathered in the town and a search-and-rescue helicopter could be seen circling around the town before appearing to winch someone from a house. Cars were left abandoned in car parks, nearly entirely covered by the flood and water lapped against the lower windows of houses, pubs and shops. A bus stop sign could barely be seen above the water.

The River Calder had burst its banks further out of the town, flooding the grounds of the Mytholmroyd Cricket Club and a nearby football pitch. A couple of miles away, a row of bungalows next to the river and the Rochdale Canal had been flooded and the Luddenden Foot Bowling Club was also under water.

Sirens could be heard throughout the day as emergency vehicles tried to make their way through flooded roads and small country lanes turned into streams as torrents of water rushed from the hillsides and fields on to the ground below.

Calder Valley hit by worst floods in living memory

Calderdale flooding Credit: ITV News Calendar

The Calder Valley has been hit by the worst floods in living memory with homes and businesses under several feet of water.

Roads in the area including the main A646 Burnley road have also been submerged after river levels reached a record 5.1m height.

Elderly people living in Elephaborough, near Mytholmroyd, have been rescued from their homes.

Other residents, who are still trapped in their homes have moved upstairs.

The Humberside coastguard has airlifted a patient with a heart condition to a nearby hospital.

Mytholmroyd WMC is providing shelter and drinks for residents who have been forced out of their homes because of the floods.

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