FLOOD ANNIVERSARY: Traders aim to ‘bite back’ as firms still feel the after-effects of tidal surge

Wormgate during the floods.
Wormgate during the floods.

One street of traders in Boston has pledged to ‘bite back’ on the anniversary of last year’s floods.

Businesses in Wormgate and the Stump have teamed up to hold a community event on Friday aiming to, in the words of organisers, ‘showcase the hard work and determination of our community over the past 12 months’.

Wormgate Bites Back opens with the offer of a free bacon butty at the Blenkin Memorial Hall (from 9.30-11.30am).

There, visitors will be able to pick up a brochure containing offers and an entry form to a special raffle.

This will take the form of a quiz with the answers hidden inside each participating shop in Wormgate.

Anyone who returns a completed quiz form will be in with a chance of winning an array of prizes.

There will also be a sealed auction for the King Kong-inspired artwork donated to the Stump by ‘The Key’.

The day will also see tours of the Stump from 2pm-4pm, a fire engine outside the Stump between 4-6pm for children - and adults - to explore, tea and cake at the Blenkin Memorial Hall from 4-6pm, and more.

Out of the Cage pet shop, in Wormgate, was among the businesses affected by the flood.

Staff there said the event was a chance to ‘celebrate’ the work done since that night.

Co-owner Chris Gregg spoke of how the tidal surge united the area.

“If anything, it has helped bring the community closer,” he said. “We all knew each other afterwards because everybody helped everybody.”

Out of the Cage was closed for about a month following the flood; for some businesses, the disruption was longer still.

Director of Operations at the St Botolph’s Church Mike Bartlett said: “The whole flood has been a real challenge for the team here, but it has led to us working closer with some of our local businesses and the community.

“Where possible we have tried to ensure that the work is carried out by local businesses which can then put money back into the local economy.

“We are also working very closely with the Wormgate traders on an event for Wormgate bites back.

“We invite the whole of Boston to this event in the Blenkin Memorial Hall with free bacon butties.

“This is to help people realise that Wormgate is open for business. The Parish of Boston is extremely grateful for the support of the local community during this extremely challenging time.

“We will never forget how people came together following the events of last December.”

The Corner Shop, at the junction of Norfolk Street and Tunnard Street, was closed for almost seven months after the flood.

Such was the scale of the damage, the only items that have not been replaced since that night are the sweet rack and the drinks rack.

Douglas Wells, who runs the shop with wife Annmarie, said trade has yet to fully recover.

He said: “We knew when we opened it would be slow because people get into a habit of going somewhere else, but over the last few weeks it seems to have dropped even further.”

Nevermind The Music Store, in Church Street, has also yet to return to pre-flood conditions.

Gareth Skinner, owner, said about a fifth of the stock it lost on the night was ‘irreplaceable’.

In addition, financial constraints and plans - currently shelved – for the business to re-locate to allow for the floor to be repaired – means stock levels have yet to be fully replenished, despite the recent arrival of about 1,000 CDs.

On whether life for the shop had returned to normal, Mr Skinner said: “Still not yet.”