Copley villagers recognised for their fantastic ‘community spirit’

Copley hero Paul Shaw and his family were among a group of local residents who were recognised last week (7 February) for going above and beyond the call of duty to help their community after torrential rains submerged homes and cut-off the village over Christmas.

Local affordable housing provider Stonewater, which operates Copley Mill House retirement home, organised a special ‘thank you’ party for villagers, Stonewater residents and staff, who came to the aid of neighbours with food, shelter and clean-up teams during and after the floods.

“Copley was hit particularly hard by the floods. Both the canal and River Calder overflowed making the village accessible only by boat,” explains Jolene Craig, Stonewater Area Manager. “We wanted to do something special for people to recognise their fantastic community spirit during the crisis and thank everyone who helped clean-up and get the village back on its feet. Our staff, support teams and residents came up with the idea of hosting a fun community event and awards ceremony to recognise people’s special efforts.”

Stonewater asked villagers to nominate their local heroes during the floods and Copley resident Paul Shaw and his family topped the votes for ‘working tirelessly and being an inspiration to those around them’ during the crisis.

“We were just being good neighbours,” says Paul who received a voucher for a family meal out from Stonewater. “I don’t think we did any more than anyone else.”

The community event and award presentation held at Copley Mill House, was jointly funded by Stonewater, local contractors Armitage and Bell Group, and Calderdale Fire Service.

“I can think of many people who would have been worthy winners of this special award for community spirit but Paul and his family really stood out for their dedication, compassion and determination to get the community up and running again,” says Stonewater Executive Director of Housing Sue Shirt.

Other residents who organised clean-up teams, opened their doors to neighbours and provided hot food, cakes and drinks were also commended and received a ‘Certificate of Appreciation’ for their efforts along with Stonewater staff who knocked on doors to offer aid and temporary shelter at Copley Mill House.

“We are incredibly proud that so many of our staff, residents, and other community members gave up their Christmas celebrations to help support those in need during what was a desperate time for many,” says Sue Shirt. “Despite the grim circumstances, there was a real community spirit in the air, with everyone pulling together to help those who had lost their homes and to participate in the big clean-up to get Copley back on its feet.”

Those attending the celebrations were treated to a tasty spread of hot food, cakes and drinks, and an Elvis impersonator. Stonewater staff also took the opportunity to provide residents with vital information on what to do in the event of a future flood and highlight the valuable contribution made by local emergency services, who also went above and beyond to help those in need.