Lancaster’s plumbing community has issued a united ‘thank you’ to a local business which brushed aside its own problems to help the city’s flood-stricken people.
James Hargreaves Plumbing Depot stayed open throughout the crisis even though the branch, on Ladies Walk, was itself submerged three feet deep in water and left without any power for several days.
Manager Chris Lee and his gallant staff refused to buckle – running the branch from a single mobile telephone and working around the clock to ensure local plumbers had all the stock they required.
“The staff there were true heroes,” said John Beattie, project manager at the local branch of EMCOR, who are responsible for the installation and maintenance of housing for Lancaster City Council.
“No-one could really have complained if they had just closed until the water had subsided and the situation eased.
“But fair play to them, they realised how important it was to keep trading. An awful lot of people owe Chris and his team a debt of gratitude.” Richard Bradshaw, of Galgate-based RN Plumbing and Heating, said: “What they did was absolutely spot on. It would have been such an inconvenience for us guys if they had put the shutters up. It was hard enough coping with the number of jobs coming, but people would definitely have been left stranded for much longer had the branch closed.”
Chris, who has managed the James Hargreaves Plumbing Depot branch for the past two-and-a-half years, said: “The flooding was horrendous and the branch was in a right state, but we knew that the plumbers who use us were under enormous pressure. They obviously needed stock – and quickly – and we just got stuck in to make things work.
“Although the place was under water and without any electricity, we kept open, diverted incoming calls to my mobile and stayed in touch with all our customers. Any stock we couldn’t access or supply from here we managed to get through our branch at Garstang, who also helped out with deliveries for us.”
Chris, along with assistant manager John Lund, Gary Jackson, Mark Bradbury and Simon Saunders, are now involved in a clean-up operation, having also written off some £60,000 of stock.
He said: “It has been a demoralising experience and we are still a week or two away from being back to normal, but, hopefully, our efforts have helped many of those affected by the dreadful flooding.”