Boxing Day 2015 heralded the return of the intrepid 'Bookman'! Like many other middle-aged men that day we took the flooding of Todmorden as an opportunity to relive our youth. Clambering over fences, traversing fast flowing waters and inching our way along walled precipices! Happily on my second attempt I managed to get to the Bookshop , with most of the Town Centre under water I wasn't sure what to expect....thankfully the shop floor escaped unscathed, however the cellarbelow was a very different story. During the night the basement had flooded to a depth of approximately 3 feet, the cellar storerooms at Lyall's comprises 3 rooms housing over 20,000 books. The very heart, life blood and for the more mechanically minded, engine room for the upper retail floors. Devastation!

After wading through in the near darkness, illuminated only by my newly discovered phone torch, it was clear that much of our precious stock, boxed and unbowed, had been destroyed. Boxes and boxes bobbed up and down in the muddy brown somewhat pongy soup! Plastic boxes had overturned depositing their contents into the murky depths, and the bottom two to three shelves of al the shelving units were submerged.

Books and periodicals have been left swollen and sodden, literary liquid carnage. In total we have probably lost several thousand books, some shelving units, some random things just being stored and to add to the joy stinking brown sludge everywhere, making the clear-up operation quite hazardous.

At this point you might be forgiven for thinking that all seems lost and the future bleak. As is often the case at times of crisis events bring out the best in folk. Folk were calling to offer help and support at our darkest hour. For this reason and this reason alone I have chosen to pen these words. A message to say thank you to all the folk who have offered help, supplied equipment (such as de-humidifiers) and physical support creating a human chain to remove the sodden mess from cellar to pavement. Their enthusiastic and cheerful support has made what seemed like an impossible task at least seem achievable. It is amazing what can be achieved with a spirit of solidarity and a common purpose. There is still much to do with some areas of the cellar as yet untouched, or we could call work in progress.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have kindly donated books to help us rebuild Lyall's. This whole experience has been humbling and has caused us to reflect on how much our modest bookshop is valued across the community and by visitors to Todmorden. In this regard we have been asked to set up a Paypal donation button on our website, for those of you who wish to contribute to the re-building of Lyall's with a small donation. Thank you once again to all involved, you will help to keep us afloat!