IT was an emotional evening as residents shared their flood stories on the third anniversary of Storm Desmond.

More than 30 people attended the event at St Paul’s Church, Holme Eden in Warwick Bridge, on Tuesday night, located by the banks of the River Eden.

Residents and business owners from the Warwick Bridge area and nearby villages and hamlets - including Wetheral, Warwick-on-Eden, Aglionby, Little Corby, Corby Hill, Great Corby, Burnrigg and Brocklewath – took the opportunity to talk about how flooding had hit their properties.

The meeting, named ‘Flood Stories’, was the idea of Reverend Graeme Skinner, who was appointed vicar for Wetheral and Holme Eden and mission community team leader earlier this year.

Rev Skinner told The Cumberland News: “As my wife, Philippa, and I have gone out and about meeting people in our local community the first thing that many have spoken to us about is the flooding.

“The last floods may be three years ago but it remains very real for many people.

“There are people who were not able to come to this because it is still too raw for them. Others who spoke were close to tears as they shared their stories.

“The main purpose of the event has been to build community and to give people hope. Through the evening we saw people weaving together through shared experience and shared stories.”

In December 2015, about 2,100 properties were directly affected by the flooding, with the flow in the River Eden the highest ever recorded.

Storm Desmond brought new 24 hour and 48 hour rainfall records for the UK, both recorded in Cumbria.

Members of Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service who helped evacuate people in the area also spoke of the effects of the devastating floods.

One firefighter detailed how his watch was called out to rescue families from two houses close to the bridge which crosses the River Eden at Warwick Bridge.

He said: “It was a terrible night but it was fantastic to see how people rallied round and there was a ‘never give in’ attitude, a feeling of ‘we’re stronger than this’. That shone through on the night.”

Other flood events in and around the Warwick Bridge area were also marked during the ‘Flood Stories’ event, including those of 2005 and flash floods in 2011 which badly affected properties in Great Corby.

Mike Crawley and his wife, Liz, were flooded out of their cottage in the village.

He said: “One of my abiding memories is of my wife at our front door with her foot up against it, shouting ‘I can’t hold the water back’.

“The door was flung open and within minutes we were in four feet of water, with our sofa floating on its side with two cats perched on it.

“The panic we felt in the immediate aftermath has now subsided to one of slight anxiety. We have a flood plan in place should the same thing ever happen again.”

Wetheral resident Pat Howe shared the after-effects of the same cloudburst which saw her garden patio and boundary wall tumble 40 feet.

She was supported by the Cumbria Flood Recovery fund after her garden shed was washed away three years ago.

Business owner Sally Longstaff from Sally’s Tea Room in Warwick Bridge, which was also affected by the flooding, added how she had opened up her business to provide free food for those affected by the 2015 floods.

Reflecting on the meeting, Rev Skinner added: “Every contribution weaved into a tapestry that displayed courage, determination and kindness.

“What came through forcibly was the resolve of people and the willingness to help each other through adversity.”