|On Boxing day, 2015, it began to rain heavily in the Calder valley in West Yorkshire. Soon, all too quickly, rivers were rising and bursting their banks, merging with nearby canals, threatening roads and bridges, and generally getting out of control. In the course of a few hours, places such as Hebden Bridge, Sowerby Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Todmorden, as well as all the settlements in between, were in the grip of a major flooding catastrophe. The book you are now holding in your hand was written by some of the people who underwent that ordeal, who either lived and/or went to school in the flood-ravaged area.
It soon became apparent that there would need to be a massive effort, alongside the emergency services and the army, to supply people who had lost their homes, their businesses, and their possessions with the basics of life - food, warmth and shelter. At first, this burden was largely taken up by volunteers, and people from charities, organisations, and even informal networks of local people, organised via social media, before eventually the more official channels took over.
As the flood waters receded, and people got on with rebuilding their lives, a flood resue fund was launched by the Calderdale Community Foundation, and it is that fund which this book is aiming to support. It will be a long road back for the Calder Valley, especially for those who lost everything to the flood waters.
Itís not, however, some sort of repetitive litany of sorrow and disaster. In these poems and prose pieces, written by the kids of the Calder Valley, there is a real spirit of defiance, hope and regeneration. Whatever the levels of the rivers in months and years to come, the level of literary skill and ability in the schools of the Calder Valley is consistently high, judging from this work. Poetic techniques are skilfully employed, and the editors, Gez Walsh and Joel Duncan, were at pains to point out the imaginative use of imagery and personification.
£1.72 from the sale of each book will be donated to the CCF flood relief fund.