Flood victims invited to fundraising evening

Photo: Guy Carpenter.

People affected by the July flash floods are being invited as VIP guests at a fundraising event.

Complimentary tickets for the Bands, Bids and Big Night Out event have been offered to everyone badly hit by the disaster in Swaledale, Arkengarthdale and Wensleydale.

Invitations have been issued via the Two Ridings Community Foundation, the charity administering the funds, for an evening of music, auctions and tombola at Tennants’ Garden Rooms in Leyburn on October 19.

A drinks reception will be held for all flood victims who will have the chance to get together for the first time since the floods.

Organisers hope those affected will take advantage of the occasion to exchange stories and forge new friendships through their shared experiences.

Emma Stephenson, whose home in Fremington was one of the worst hit, said: “I  really, really want to be there after all the support they have given. It’s keeping that positivity going.

“It’s such a good thing that they are doing for everybody, to be offered complimentary tickets. We’re all looking forward to it and to include the children is great. They feel they can go to the auction night and see what everyone has done. It’s a generous gesture.”

Emma and her husband Anth, who have two children Jack, 15, and Lucie, 12, were trapped upstairs in their home for almost six hours before rescuers could reach them with a ladder to a bedroom window.

They lost almost all their possessions, including two cars, and have had to seek temporary accommodation but are determined to move back into their home once months of major repair work is complete.

Of the big night, Emma added: “It will be nice to do something as a family and to enjoy ourselves. The focus has been on settling into a temporary home and the kids going back to school.

“The more people that go the better, it’s going to be an amazing night for an amazing cause. We will be able to let our hair down. I think it will help bring business back to the Dales which relies on tourism. It’s not always pouring down with rain. We want people to know it’s a fantastic place to live and the community is fantastic.”

Tennants have donated the use of their function suite while Robin Jessop Ltd, NFU and NFU Mutual and the Swaledale Festival have offered sponsorship.

The Arkengarthdale and Swaledale Flood Relief Fundraising team say dancing shoes are optional at the seated concert, with room to dance “if you just can’t help yourself”.

Over £5,000’s worth of raffle tickets have already been sold and all proceeds, including income from ticket sales, the tombola and the auction, will go to the Two Ridings for distribution.

Anyone whose home was affected by the floods is invited to e-mail the fundraising team on swalearkfloodfund@gmail.com for further information.