Ben Barnett: Staging of Reeth Show is a triumph against the odds

Reeth is set to stage its annual agricultural show on Monday. Picture by Tony Johnson.
Reeth is set to stage its annual agricultural show on Monday. Picture by Tony Johnson.

In many ways the actions in the upper reaches of the Yorkshire Dales over the last few weeks have epitomised the strength of character in our rural communities; a can-do attitude passed down through generations.

Dales folk affected by the violent flash floods following freak heavy rainfall on July 30 deserve enormous credit for showing the sort of spirit that, remarkably, will see Reeth’s annual agricultural show take place on Monday.

Almost a month's rain fell in four hours in parts of the upper Dales on July 30. Picture by Swaledale MRT/SWNS.

Almost a month's rain fell in four hours in parts of the upper Dales on July 30. Picture by Swaledale MRT/SWNS.

Back from the brink, the traditional one-day show will perhaps be celebrated with extra vigour this time around, after the village found itself very much at the epicentre of the deluge that washed away walls, roads, livestock and more.

In the aftermath of the flooding, community leaders have been at pains to stress that the Dales remains very much open for business. What better way to qualify that message by supporting one of this bank holiday weekend’s agricultural shows in this beautiful part of the Yorkshire?

Flood-hit Arkengarthdale struggling to raise funds to pay for recovery

In truth, the show date is only a well-deserved respite for communities still reeling from the damage to infrastructure, property, land and livelihoods.

Jan Garrill, the chief executive of the Two Ridings Community Foundation, told me this week how she was “aware of families in some really awful positions” as people come to terms with the extent of their losses.

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The Foundation is managing a disaster fund set up in response to the floods and it still being topped up by donations from individuals and businesses - see the Foundation’s website for details on how to make a contribution.

By midweek, about £150,000 had been raised, with around a fifth of the total already paid out to aid those in need. Meanwhile, the Government is expected to share details shortly on how its £2m Farming Recovery Fund will be administered. The fund will provide grants to affected farmers to cover their uninsured losses.

It is clear that the recovery will not happen overnight but hopefully the summer show dates remind locals of their collective strength.

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Almost a month's rain fell in four hours in parts of the upper Dales on July 30. Picture by Swaledale MRT/SWNS.