Published on February 3rd, 2014 | by The Town Crier0
In last month’s Tonbridge Town Crier I did say that this month’ My Shout would be about the famous people of our town from modern times and down the ages. So I would have talked about Dame Kelly Holmes, the cricketing legend Frank Woolley, test pilot Neville Duke, EM Forster, Bob Woolmer and perhaps even Jane Austen, yes that’s right the inspirational author of Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Sense and Sensibility herself had strong family connections in the town and must have visited several times.
I’m afraid that this will all have to wait as a bigger story has taken over events. The local paper called it The Great Flood of 2013 so you’ll know just what I’m talking about. Now, we all know that newspapers can be more than a little prone to exaggeration but, in this case, their headline seems very apt.
Often is the time that I have referred customers in Mr. Books Bookshop to pictures of the devastation of the 1968 floods which are featured in some of the old pictorial guides to Tonbridge. They have marvelled at these pictures and commented about how lucky we are now to have the Leigh Flood Barrier protecting the town from similar disasters.
Well I should imagine now that there are very few people in Tonbridge who don’t know someone who suffered serious disruption at the hands of the storms and flooding last Christmas Eve. How will we ever forget the scenes of the river in torrent, people lining the Big Bridge just to see nature in its full, unstoppable, force?
Most of us will know someone who had to evacuate their homes with only an hour’s notice on, for many, the most wonderful night of the year. Or we’ll have heard friends talk of losing power on Christmas Day and having to cook the Christmas dinner on barbeques and with the help of neighbours.
The common factor in many of the heart-warming stories I’ve heard about the flood is that of community spirit; how not just people next door helped out but how complete strangers, not to mention Police, Fire, Environment and Council services called off leave, all mucked in to begin the clear-up operation.
As the full cost of the Great Flood is added up, and it will be considerable, and as the questions about whether our flood protection was adequate enough are asked, I will prefer to remember that the Dunkirk Spirit was alive and well at Christmas time, 2013.
Contact My Shout via Mr. Books Bookshop, 142 High Street, Tonbridge. Tel. 01732 363000. Email firstname.lastname@example.org There are more pictures and comments on Tonbridgeblog.blogspot.com