Open for business
- Credit: Sarah Ford
The sun may be out but the struggles faced by those living and working in flood affected areas on the Levels must not be forgotten
Famous potter John Leach watched helplessly as the floods invaded his home and business for the second time in 14 months. Marooned in Muchelney, John and wife Lizzie, were rescued and the pottery, which has been in the village since 1965, closed for nine weeks. Now their shop is open again and they are back in production.
John says the floods galvanised the community into action with plans for a bund or flood bank to surround vulnerable properties.
“It’s important that we all work together and sing from the same hymn sheet when trying to be constructive about the future water and river management of the Somerset levels and Moors.”
During the crisis, Langport café owner Clare Aparicio and her staff Jessie Elliott and Abby Cox started to raise money for the people living in the stricken areas of Thorney and Muchelney. Today the Much Thorn Wings fund has topped £16,000 and includes a £5,000 boost from Richard Branson’s charity Virgin Unite.
Clare, who runs the Parrett Café, has been named an ITV Flood Hero and received a Points of Light award from the Prime Minister.
This is a close knit community and Clare says at one point the residents felt they had the backing of the whole of the UK.
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But Clare, who along with fellow traders in the Langport Business Group is keen to promote the town to visitors, says the important thing is not to forget what has happened here.
“When you drive along the moors now the hawthorn is a beautiful green, the tide marks are fading, the swans are nesting and the beauty of the landscape becomes apparent. The flood is like a trauma which you try and shut out of your conscious but you know it was there.”
Help support the local communities this summer at the following events:
15 June: Green Scythe Fair, Thorney Lakes, 11am, greenfair.org.uk; 5 July: Party by the Parrett, 2pm, partybytheparrett.co.uk; 19 July: Taming of the Shrew, Muchelney Abbey, 7.30pm, tauntonthespians.org.uk; 24-27 July Lowland Games, thelowlandgames.org.uk; 9 August: Music by the Lakes, Thorney Lakes; 26 August: Muchelney Village Fete. Last Friday of the month: Langport Market.