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Page last updated at 16:04 GMT, Wednesday, 19 May 2010 17:04 UK
Six months after the floods
Flooded: Cockermouth's story
Caz Graham

Flood waters in the centre of Cockermouth. Picture by Louisa Le Voi.
Flood waters in the centre of Cockermouth

In November 2009 Cumbria was hit by some of the worst floods ever seen in the county.

BBC Radio Cumbria has been following the progress of some of those affected.

Caz Graham has been finding out how the insurance claims are going, and how the drying out and rebuilding is progressing.

She returned to Cockermouth six months after the the flooding to witness the recovery process for herself.

Caz Graham

Lost toys

Jonty Chippendale runs the Toy Shop on Main Street, or the yellow toyshop, as the town's children know it.

He's also Chairman of Cockermouth Chamber of Trade.

Fifty percent of the shop's stock was lost in the flood and Jonty has been trading from a temporary base in Main Street at Mitchells.

Maintaining family life

There was one truly gritty survivor in the Swain family's Cockermouth house: the goldfish.

Its tank was covered by flood water and for days Lynn and Mike and their three children assumed it was dead, but against the odds, it lived to tell the tale - or it would if fish could speak.

Not much else on the ground floor of their house did survive though.

Almost six feet (2m) of brown murky water poured into the kitchen, living room and play room and left toys and precious possessions filthy, stinking and beyond rescue.

Full skip

They had to move into temporary accommodation and try to maintain family life as best as possible.

Trading since 1830

And for Elaine Williamson the floods have been particularly poignant.

Her family has had shops on Main Street since 1830.

She's landlady of two shops there now and saw them both flooded out, while her Mum who's 81, and hates water, lives in a flat above one of the shops and had to be rescued by boat from a first floor window along with Elaine and her partner.

Skip and workman's sign
A workman's advertisement in Cockermouth, with a view along Main Street

It's been an emotional, frustrating and painful experience and sorting out the logistics of drying out and repairing the shops and properties that Elaine owns has been a huge undertaking.


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