Alnwick councillors praise residents for rallying round to look after neighbours

Alnwick councillors have praised the strength of community spirit as the town recovers from Storm Arwen.

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 4:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 4:29 pm
Damage at Alnwick Town Juniors clubhouse. Credit: John V Mason

Wind speeds of 98mph were recorded by the Met Office at Brizlee Wood, the highest in the country, bringing down power lines, trees, fences, chimneys and roofs.

Alnwick Town Juniors clubhouse, at Greensfield, is facing a repair bill in the region of £1 million, while the town’s cemetery has been badly damaged by falling trees.

Cllr Gordon Castle said: “The damage is substantial everywhere but I think Alnwick’s community is showing its strength and sense of belonging in many ways at present, as are smaller settlements, many still without power.

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“There is very good support on offer from community groups and both Lesbury and Alnmouth have opened their halls to community use. The Duchess’s school is also staying open to provide warmth and shelter to those in need.

"Whilst those in distress and particularly vulnerable can be assured of support I’m afraid nothing can be done to speed up the work of Northern Powergrid who have drafted in extra teams to assist. They are flat out doing their level best.

“The same can be said of the council workforce, which in my view has responded extremely well to this emergency and continues its rounds of inspection to prioritise work like fences down and other safety issues.”

Cllr Martin Swinbank went out door-to-door in Hipsburn where residents were without power and to tell them that Lesbury’s hall was open.

“Most were in good spirits, and many were receiving support from family, friends, and neighbours,” he reported.

"There is widespread minor damage to roofs and many trees down locally, with some properties having suffered more severe damage. Most of our local roads are now clear, and the council teams have done a fantastic job in this regard, not helped by continued wind and snow.

“Communities have rallied around to support their neighbours and check on those they know are most vulnerable, including providing them with warm, safe accommodation and hot meals in many cases.

"Many volunteers have also been helping with the tidying up effort across the ward and although there is a lot more to be done in the coming days and weeks, we have come together as a strong local community in the face of some adversity.”

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