How a councillor's legacy is helping victims of flooding in the Yorkshire Dales just days after his funeral

Coun John Blackie would have been driving flood relief say colleagues.
Coun John Blackie would have been driving flood relief say colleagues.
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The partner of a Yorkshire Dales councillor who dedicated his life to battling for his communities has teamed up with a local authority chairman to launch an appeal in his memory for residents who have lost everything in flash flooding.

Two days after John Blackie’s funeral was held for his family, his partner Jill McMullon said she wanted the appeal to help fill the void felt by communities in Swaledale and Wensleydale hit by Tuesday’s deluge following the death of the high-profile and long-serving North Yorkshire, Richmondshire and Hawes councillor.

She urged residents to donate cash, food, clothing and other supplies such as bedding to the Upper Dales Flood Relief Fund to provide short-term help to people hit by the flooding.

Ms McMullon said: “John would have been driving everything forward, doing all he could to help his communities at a time when some people in the Upper Dales have lost everything.”

Councillor Stuart Parsons, chairman of Richmondshire District Council, said Cllr Blackie would have tried to reopen the roads himself or spent hours on phones calling for rapid action following the flash floods.

He said alongside the collapsed roads and bridges in the Upper Dales which North Yorkshire County Council would repair, it was clear numerous residents had been hit by the flooding and many businesses in the area had been dealt severe blows.

Cllr Parsons, who will hold a coffee morning and afternoon tea event in Richmond Town Hall on Thursday to kick-start the appeal, said: “It is terrible that John is not here to help with this, but we are trying to pick up some of what he would have done.

“John was an impatient man and keen to get everything going again as soon as possible. The relief fund will aim to tide people over while they are waiting for insurance to come through. Sadly, some of the people affected by the flooding might not have been insured.

“It is going to take some time to assess the full extent of the damage and to know exactly what is needed to get residents and businesses back on their feet, but in the meantime it would be fantastic if people could give as generously as possible to help all those in need.”