WATCH: Tadcaster crowds take to the streets for bridge grand re-opening

There wasn’t a resident, school student or business owner to be missed as excited crowds gathered in the masses for the re-opening of Tadcaster’s historic bridge.

It was a bright and brisk day as people from all corners of the town’s community gathered on both sides of the bridge, which has been under reconstruction for over a year.

School children from Tadcaster's three primary schools walk in procession with Nigel Adams MP for Selby and Ainsty over the town's re-opened bridge. Picture: Gary Longbottom

School children from Tadcaster's three primary schools walk in procession with Nigel Adams MP for Selby and Ainsty over the town's re-opened bridge. Picture: Gary Longbottom

The high street was a buzz with the laughter and cheer of families and friends as the procession of Tadcaster school students charged through the ceremonial red ribbon.

Resident on the west side, Diane Green said: “I had a tear in my eye at the opening. It was so emotional and brilliant - it has been a horrible year.

“All my family lives on the other side so I have had to drive around every time I have wanted to see my grandson.

“It just means everything, you don’t realise how much it would affect you until it happens. I’m 67, born and bred in Tadcaster and nothing like this has ever happened before.”

Crowds gather for the re-opening. Picture: Gary Longbottom

Crowds gather for the re-opening. Picture: Gary Longbottom

The bridge has been closed to traffic and pedestrians since it partially collapsed during the Christmas floods of December 2015.

But as the Coastliner bus following the procession drove over from the east, people in the crowd remarked at the strange sight to see a vehicle crossing the structure.

However during the reconstruction of the town’s most crucial link, life in the two halves of Tadcaster has had to carry on.

Lisa Stubbs and Andrew Lane opened their business, Simply a Party, in the western half of the town just before the floods hit.

Lisa Stubbs and Andrew Lane with their little boy Zakk (11 months). The family had just opened their business when the floods hit. Picture: Gary Longbottom

Lisa Stubbs and Andrew Lane with their little boy Zakk (11 months). The family had just opened their business when the floods hit. Picture: Gary Longbottom

Lisa said: “We had only been here ten weeks before the flooding and I was seven months pregnant as well.

“We lost absolutely everything, the water came up to chest height and we have only been back in here since July last year.

“Everybody has avoided Tad because we have almost been like a dead end. It means everything just getting people back into Tad because it’s hard because we still have all the outgoings and it put an extra 20 miles on your journey just to get to the other side of the town.”

But Andrew explained that in some ways the bridge closure was a blessing, giving the pair more quality time with their little son Zakk who is now 11 months old.

Walking around and talking to local people, it became apparent that the silver linings to this difficult year weren’t in short supply either.

Alison Wadsworth said: “We live on the west side which is the easier side to have lived on because we can at least get to both Leeds and York, we have just been cut off from Sainsbury’s and the doctors.

“The town has probably become healthier because people have been walking across the footbridge.

Alison’s friend and fellow resident Sara Gott added: “It’s the only thing people have talked about all year.

“The silver lining is that the community spirit has been really really good and that most people have been understanding that the bridge was going to take a long time to repair.”

It was the one day in the last 365 for Tadcaster, that businesses owners were closing their doors to customers for a good reason - to get a taste of the action.

Martin Raggett, Owner of Allen’s Ironmongers, was shutting the shop with a cup of tea in hand and a smile on his face as he said: “Having the bridge re-opened will mean lie back to normal.”

As the crowds dispersed, some warmed their hands grabbing a coffee, others popped into the local pub, and some jumped in their cars just to enjoy the novelty of driving over the re-opened the bridge.

Town resident, Eileen Emmett, was stood at the roadside marvelling the scene.

She said: “It’s the pride of Taddy it’s the pride of the people, it’s a great and very close community, everybody comes together and when all these people leave and Tadcaster is alone again people will talk and celebrate.”