Colin’s column: sense of community is amazing

Whitby is plunged into darkness after a sub station caught fire on New Quay Road after floods''w134924k
Whitby is plunged into darkness after a sub station caught fire on New Quay Road after floods''w134924k
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Last Thursday, Whitby was drenched in a massive tidal surge, causing havoc and destroying many people’s property and belongings.

The amount and speed of the water surge was unbelievable and I don’t think many people were prepared.

On Thursday lunchtime, I mentioned to my partner Andrew that there were reports of an impending tidal surge on the news.

Our cellar at the Station Inn has flooded on a number of occasions so we made plans to go downstairs and prepare as normal. We headed down and moved everything that is stored close to the floor up onto tables, raising everything at least 3ft up and out of harms way. We have never had more than 2ft of water in the cellar – and any clean-up operation has only ever taken a couple of hours.

Later that afternoon while walking by the swing bridge the tide spilled onto the road.

Within seconds, New Quay Road was covered and we detoured home quickly via Baxtergate, passing the end of each alleyway we could see the water rapidly progressing. Arriving back at the pub there was already water in the cellar, Trenchers was already flooded and cars were trapped in the road, electrics were flickering and people were leaving their homes.

We stayed open for as long as possible but soon realised that we would have to close.

Shortly after we closed, the electric went plunging the town into darkness, although it seemed that even the pitch black did not deter a few spectators from wading into the flood waters with their children like it was a fun day out –the Police and Community Support Officers soon moved them on but this did look like a reoccurring problem throughout the evening.

The emergency services were all on site fast and did a great job all night, for which we thank them all.

The fire crew that came to help us came from Kirbymoorside and worked tirelessly until midnight to remove the 6ft of water that eventually filled our cellar, at one point even pumping it straight to a small fire that broke out by the Tourist Information Centre.

We remained closed all Friday while we organised the clear-up, and we were inundated with offers of help, the sense of community was amazing, we truly are grateful. Although we suffered a huge amount of damage it was all superficial, it was all damage to business property, we were so lucky none of our personal things were stored downstairs unlike so many others across town whose homes have been devastated. The offers of free accommodation from B&Bs and hotels around town, as well as the offers of food, furniture and Christmas presents to fellow local people that have lost everything that I have seen all over Facebook, and heard about from local people are brilliant and heartwarming.

It is a great time to live in Whitby, the support from the rest of town is superb, there is even a Facebook group that you can join if you want to help or if you need help, simply search for: ‘Whitby Flood Help’.

On a lighter note, please be assured that telling us at the bar that our beer tastes strangely like sea water while sporting a sneaky smile is not getting old at all. Not. At. All. :)