Everybody needs good neighbours…

IT’S Monday morning as I write this column and quite frankly I’m struggling.

Nothing sounds quite right when all I can think about are the people who lost so much at the weekend.

I had an idea all lined up for this week but what seemed funny on Friday afternoon now seems far too glib – and I can’t summon the good mood needed to write something light-hearted when I feel so utterly sad for the people who have been affected by Storm Desmond.

I’ve been glued to the news coverage (from a surreally dry Leicester, where I was attending a family party) and my heart broke as image after image appeared on the screen.

But what also struck me was that community spirit appeared to be more alive than ever.

I’ve always found South Lakeland a friendly place, but this has never been more evident.

Mother Nature ripped apart peoples’ lives and in their droves complete strangers rallied round to help them.

I was heartened to see, almost immediately after the scale of damage became apparent, that somebody had set up a donation website to raise funds to help those in difficulty. And even better, how many people had put their hands in their pockets and donated.

It’s been lovely to see that Tim Farron and local councillors have been visiting residents, offering their help and support, and are responding quickly to messages on social media from those either needing help or wishing to help.

The sheer number of people on Facebook I have also seen offering food, shelter and other supplies has been staggering.

And, of course, despite being stretched beyond all belief, the emergency services and other rescue teams have gone above and beyond to ensure the safety of local people.

Now everybody who has lost something needs the community to continues its efforts.

I hope the momentum gathered is not lost as we approach Christmas – and I can only reiterate the calls for second home-owners to give up accommodation for those affected (a genius idea, in my opinion).

My thoughts are with everybody battling to get their lives (and livelihoods) back on track. 

As for me, I plan to spend the rest of the day cuddling my daughter a little bit more tightly and being thankful that so many good-hearted people exist in the world.

Article first published in The Westmorland Gazette on December 10, 2015

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