Whaley Bridge: Getting creative to thank emergency services

Thank you painting Image copyright Art Is Mental

The residents of crisis-hit Whaley Bridge have been taking to social media and even their own back gardens to pay tribute to the emergency crews who are working on the stricken dam.

Tributes ranging from basic cardboard signs to more intricate artwork have sprung up around the area to thank the teams working round-the-clock at Toddbrook Reservoir.

Image copyright Becky Coffey
Image caption Residents have been getting creative making "thank you" signs

Student Ellie Kerr created a striking painting of the RAF Chinook dropping aggregate into the dam and said she felt "helpless" being at university in Manchester.

"Everyone I know is there and that's why I wanted to do something and this is one of the things I know how to do," said the 21-year-old.

"The Chinook has almost become a symbol of hope for people in Whaley because they are reassured that for as long as they can still hear it, something is still happening.

"Hopefully people who have been working there will see it and feel like they are appreciated."

And the messages and praise have not gone unnoticed by the fire service and police.

'Keep your Chinook up'

Becky Coffey and her neighbours live just outside the evacuation zone in Whaley Bridge and drinks on Saturday night soon turned into a craft session.

"We just wanted to show our support really," she said.

"There's not really much we can do to help so this is our way of saying thank you.

"We are obviously very scared, but we have been told we will be safe. But it must be terrifying for everyone in the danger zone that could lose their houses and businesses."

Image copyright Becky Coffey
Image caption The signs are popping up close to where emergency services are based
Image copyright AFP / Getty Images

Nine-year-old Caitlin missed out on a visit to Whaley Bridge this weekend because of the evacuation, but drew a message to her grandad to "save the chickens".

Image copyright Caitlin

Artist Kate O'Brien grew up in Whaley Bridge and has taken in her mum, step-dad and two sisters who were evacuated from their home.

She shared a recent painting of her hometown on Instagram and paid tribute to the work of the emergency services.

"I wanted to remind everyone how beautiful Whaley Bridge is and what the emergency services have done has saved it really," she said.

"They are saving the town from being destroyed - people's homes, the heritage, their businesses.

"Words aren't enough to thank them."

Follow BBC East Midlands on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Send your story ideas to

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites