Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire has been one of the towns hit hardest by flooding in the north this Christmas.

The owners of women's fashion store Dee's Wardrobe in Hebden Bridge, Dawn and Jonathon Dabell, were flooded on Boxing Day, and only managed to save around 100 items from their stock as the waters rose.

The water was 4.5ft (1.4m) across the whole town, Dabell told i100.co.uk, as the floodgates proved virtually useless.

Hebden Bridge flooded in 2012, before the Dabells opened their shop, but nowhere near as much - the scene before them on Boxing Day was "utter devastation", Dabell said.

When the waters receded they managed to get into the shop to find chaos - swelled and dislodged floorboards, and ruined goods.

The shop was not eligible for flood insurance, so the couple are in a precarious financial situation - while the landlord has building insurance, it has a hefty excess.

The Dabells decided they are determined not to give up on their business, writing a message to customers on the window of the shop on Sunday to let locals know they're open:

We will recover. It takes more than water to break us.

Salvaged stock washed and ironed by us. We will be out front on dry days selling whatever is sellable until it's gone.

It will be clean. It will be wearable. It will be cheap.

Thank you all.

Writing on Facebook, Dabell said that the message was a "little defiant show of spirit", mainly to show the locals that "we're not beaten and neither should they be".

The couple lost much of their stock, but they took home what remained and spent all night cleaning it to see if it was salvagable. They decided that what was clean and useable should still be sold for as little as possible, just to claw back a little income to sustain them through the next few days.


Roads, phone and power lines and power are all out of action across much of West Yorkshire - but Dabell said that as long as the weather remains dry, he and his wife will be conducting business as normally as possible.

An image of the defiant shopfront message which was posted on the BBC Radio Leeds Facebook page has been shared hundreds of times.

Jonathon said the plan now is to sell what they can and fix up the shop, which will likely take three to four months. But "we'll be back", he added.

[The message] is a rallying cry to the whole of the Calder Valley... We will NOT be beaten.

More than anything, we wanted to send a message out to every other shopkeeper in northern England who has been hit - DO NOT give in, DO NOT fade away. Fight tooth and nail for everything.

We are desperate but proud, and that's what the message is all about.

Donations to flood relief efforts in Calderdale can be made here, Lancashire here and the Greater Manchester area here.

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