First the flood, then the pandemic – but Ironbridge refuses to be beaten

Home UK First the flood, then the pandemic – but Ironbridge refuses to be beaten
First the flood, then the pandemic – but Ironbridge refuses to be beaten

Normally the streets of Ironbridge in Shropshire would be bustling with tourists enjoying the world heritage site on a sunny day.

But there's hardly anyone out, and almost every business is closed.

Having suffered the worst flooding in living memory just five weeks ago, no one realised that the next thing they'd face was a global pandemic.

Image: Vic Haddock says his community has to 'fight' the new challenge of coronavirus 'altogether'

Vic Haddock's home and holiday let were flooded, and his canoe business can't operate, but he's stoic about the challenge of coronavirus.

"I don't know where my next penny is coming from because my livelihood's gone," the retired steelworker said. "Entering a new industry, the leisure industry, and the whole thing is on standstill now isn't it?

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"You know, we've spent everything we've got… my compensation, I cashed my pension… I suppose I'm a bit deflated but it's not going to beat me and it shouldn't beat anyone. We've got to fight this altogether."

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Next door, one of the oldest houses in the town is still drying out after the floods. Dad Rob is working from home on his laptop outside.

"We are concerned because we don't know what's going to happen or how bad it's going to be," he said.

"With the flooding, at least we knew that the water would recede in a few days or so. We have no idea when COVID-19 will go."

An emergency evacuation is taking place in Ironbridge, Shropshire
Emergency evacuation in Ironbridge

The family's replacement kitchen is on hold – it's on order, but can't be fitted – so they're making do with microwave meals.

Mum Debbie said: "It's balancing the time between home schooling and still having to clean things from the floods because there are still contaminated goods and finding some fun time for Amelia (their daughter). 2020 hasn't been too fun so far, but we're doing ok."

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