Residents of flood-hit Croston returned to the grim task of cleaning up their battered village today after welcoming in 2016 with a defiant smile.
The community was praised for showing its “blitz spirit” with a New Year party to top them all, only days after scores of homes and businesses were waist deep in water.
“Everyone was determined to celebrate the New Year as if nothing had happened,” said Lisa Watkinson, manager of the Croston Sports Club.
“To see the whole village back open again was lovely - and very emotional. We’ve always had a great community spirit here, but this has made it even stronger.”
Croston was one of the worst-hit places in the country when Storm Eva struck on Boxing Day. There were fears it would be hit by Storm Frank three days later, but it escaped another soaking.
After flood defences were repaired by soldiers from the 2nd Battalion of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment and RAF personnel in a Chinook helicopter, the village is now officially out of danger.
“People came out on New Year’s Eve to show they haven’t been beaten by all this,” said Lisa at the club which has become a nerve centre for the relief operation.
“You’ve got to, haven’t you? We couldn’t just sit at home and feel sorry for ourselves.
“Everyone here has been affected by the flood, either directly or because they have family, friends or neighbours affected.
“It made you proud to see everyone pulling together, determined to bring in the New Year with a real blitz spirit.”
Croston partied into the wee small hours and, as the hangovers subsided, the village’s annual New Year’s Day run was scheduled to go ahead, albeit on a waterlogged course.
“They’ve had to shorten the run by about half because some of the land is still very wet,” added Lisa. “Despite all that’s happened over the past week, everyone wanted things to go ahead as normal.
“The big clean up is likely to go on for quite a while. People in their eighties, who have lived in the village all their lives, say they have never seen flooding as bad. But with the great community we have here we’ll get over it.”