Cockermouth: hope returning a year after floods

Parishioners put finishing touches to St Joseph's before it was reopened in June

Parishioners put finishing touches to St Joseph's before it was reopened in June

This time last year, St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Cockermouth, Cumbria,  was at the centre of  some of the country's worst-ever flooding. Bridges were washed away and  thousands of homes and businesses  were left under water. At the height of the deluge there was three foot of water in the church, and more seeping into the presbytery.

One year on, the community is back on its feet and preparing for a celebration on Friday when the BBC will be filming a special Songs of Praise there.

Neil Forker, Chair of St Joseph's Parish Council, writes: "I want to let you know that 12 months on, St Joseph's church has been restored with a beautiful new wooden floor and is newly decorated throughout.

"We are scheduled to have a Songs of Praise celebration for all of Cockermouth with our Bishop Michael of Lancaster in attendance on November 19th. The BBC are in town that night, covering Children in Need, maybe they will call in!!"

Neil said: "The initial disaster brought all churches in Cockermouth closer together. We were particularly grateful to Christ Church for sharing their church and thus providing our place of worship for over five months."

In the last year, Neil says: "we have coped with the transition from our out going priest, Fr James McElroy who has retired to Carlisle after 50 years of magnificent service to the priesthood,  to the incoming priest - Fr Peter Sharrock who runs St Joseph's alongside his existing parish in Keswick.  Incidently both parishes suffered from flooding at the same time.

"Cockermouth is still undergoing renovation, but a corner has been turned; the River Derwent is quiescent for the time being; there is an air of optimism for the future."

To read last year's reports, see:
First reports from flooded parishes in Cumbria

and  Eyewitness report from flooded parishes

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