Children set to tell story of the December floods in their own words, songs and pictures

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Pupils at Whalley Church of England Primary School are sharpening their pencils and flexing their creative writing muscles in preparation for a special assignment exploring what happened to cause last winter’s floods and how their school and community were affected.

Throughout June and July, pupils in reception to year four classes will work with the Ribble Rivers Trust and local writer and performer Steve Fairclough to create poetry, scripts and performances that will be recorded as a permanent record of the dramatic and traumatic events of last winter.

The project also hopes to capture the amazing positive community reaction, which saw people pulling together to help those in need.

Richard Blackburn, who is the head teacher at Whalley, said: “The events of last winter were devastating for so many families and we think it’s important that our pupils better understand their local environment, as well as think about what happened to them during the floods.

“We’re hoping to draw on the positive experiences as well as deal with the challenges people continue to face, with many families still in temporary accommodation as repairs are carried out.”

This project is being led by the Ribble Rivers Trust as part of the development phase of a Heritage Lottery Funded project called Ribble Life Together and is supported by Ribble Valley Borough Council and the Environment Agency, who have been working with Lancashire County Council and borough councils across Lancashire to raise awareness about being flood aware and prepared.

Katherine Rodgers, arts development officer at Ribble Valley Borough council, said: “The impact of the Boxing Day floods was devastating, with many residents forced to abandon their belongings and flee from their homes overnight. Emergencies can have a significant impact on children and this kind of activity will help youngsters in flood-affected households return to a normal routine by providing a valuable learning opportunity and boosting their sense of adventure and play.

“We are delighted to support this project, which will show how strong the community spirit is in Ribble Valley and how residents overcame adversity by working together.”

If you have a story to share or would like to write something to be included in the project, please contact the Ribble Rivers Trust on 01200 444452. The organisation will be attending Whalley School’s summer fair on Saturday July 2nd, from noon to 3pm and you can also follow the progress of the project on Twitter @RibbleLife.