Tadcaster holds ceremony to bless new bridge after flooding devastation

A NORTH Yorkshire town that was torn apart by flooding has celebrated the reopening of its only road bridge.

The bridge in Tadcaster collapsed in December 2015, after the majority of the town’s high street had been left underwater in the Boxing Day flooding.

But 401 days after the collapse, the bridge reopened to connect the two halves of the town.

A celebration day was held last weekend to mark the bridge’s reopening and the reuniting of the town.

Local resident Carol Simpson summed up what the celebrations meant to the people of Tadcaster.

She said: “It’s brilliant because it’s bringing people together again.

“I live on one side of the bridge and my shop is on the other side, so it has been horrendous, but everybody’s stuck together and everybody’s there for each other.

“It’s a lovely community and a lovely place to live – it’s just like a family.”

The celebrations included a blessing of the new bridge from Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, as well as street markets on Kirkgate, and a classic car collection showcased on Bridge Street, in the centre of the town.

Nigel Adams, MP for Selby and Ainsty, felt the day of celebration summed up the spirit shown by the townspeople during the 13 months they coped without a bridge.

He said: “When you imagine what the people of the town have had to put up with – having the separation, with the bridge down for the last 13 months – the spirit’s been amazing.

“People have pulled together, not just in the town but from round the district and from all round the country as well. We’ve seen people coming out to help us, so it’s been fantastic.”

Mr Adams was also quick to draw attention to the number of people out to celebrate the reopening of the bridge – and how the high numbers represent what the reopening of the bridge meant to the people of the town.

He added: “I reckon there’s over a thousand people here who are going to be here all day.

“It epitomises the spirit of the community, and the fact that this town has bounced back after a pretty rough 13 months.”

First published 26 February on www.yorkshire-voice.com

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