EDITOR’S COMMENT: The floods will live long in the memory...but so should the community spirit

Volunteer helpers who have been sorting through donated goods at Fenside Community Centre.
Volunteer helpers who have been sorting through donated goods at Fenside Community Centre.

The devastating floods which struck our town will live forever in the memory of those affected.

As the immensely powerful tidal surge breached Boston’s defences on Thursday many people watched, simply stunned and helpless, as water poured into homes and businesses.

It is no exaggeration to say that life was in danger.

Many of those affected were forced to leave behind everything they had worked, with families evacuated to the Princess Royal Sports Arena.

Some turned up soaked to the waist by flood waters, while others queued at the doors clutching duvets and whatever possessions they could carry.

As they were ferried out of town to a safe location, the horror on many of their faces was palpable, simply not knowing what they would return to.

When they did, what they saw was gut-wrenching and heart-breaking – possessions sodden, irreplaceable valuables destroyed...many were later thrown out in the street to be dumped unceremoniously in a dust kart.

But if these images are to live long in the memory, then so should the amazing spirit shown by all the comunities from the town’s wider community. Everyone should be proud of their efforts, helping their neighbours in their hour of need – a town united.

It has often been said adversity brings out the best in people and last week it did. Family, friends and strangers coming together offering help. Shell-shocked by what they saw, all many wanted was an embrace and words of comfort.

I know these scenes were repeated across the town. And the aid effort which followed was awinspiring - with people turning out in their droves to deliver donated goods to those in need.

The Standard was among those badly affected, with water coming in above desk level on the ground floor. But shortly after lunch on Friday, thanks to the superhuman efforts of an army of volunteers, the worst had been cleared.

In writing this I was not intending to single anyone out – one reason, I simply don’t know the names of everyone who came to the aid of those affected. However, it would be wrong for me to write a piece without paying tribute to the heroic efforts of borough councillor Carol Taylor. Not only did she unite our street and organise the clear-up, she was the first to get her hands dirty – it is a shame our flood defences are not made of the same resolve. I am sure you all have a hero you would like to thank.

All of the emergency services deserve more than a mention, but that is all I have room for here, as do organisations such as the Red Cross who manned the PRSA, and the bus drivers who answered the call to evacuate those in danger.

The efforts of the borough council staff were also clearly evident in the control room on Sunday.

Our Mayor Coun Paul Kenny should also be credited. He and his wife Pam were a constant presence in the town and were there to perform an official switch-on of Christmas lights in Church Street on Friday evening. Yes, despite what had happened the 24 hours previously, we managed to go ahead with the planned festivities, which by now had taken on a far greater significance.

If you will allow me, I also have to thank the simply amazing team who bring you The Standard each week. On Thursday night we all left the offices believing we had made the necessary efforts to protect the property left behind, sadly this was not to be the case. They then went out into the night to keep you updated with what was happening. On Friday, we returned to work and a scene of devastation - but worked on relentlessly.

There are questions to be answered: could things have been done differently? Should more have been done to protect property? What can be done to protect our town in the future?

And these must be answered. Indeed, many of these are reported in the stories inside.

However, I am determined to end this piece on a positive. What I would ask everyone to do is continue to support each other in this time of adversity.

I have always been proud to be from Boston, but never more so than last week.