Harrogate man’s flood mission

Mark Pennington collecting for the Cumbria flood appeal in Harrogate.(1512073AM)
Mark Pennington collecting for the Cumbria flood appeal in Harrogate.(1512073AM)

A Harrogate man who was born and bred in Cumbria has launched a collection for the floods that have devastated his former home.

Mark Pennington, who owns a van hire company, was spurred into action after seeing the shocking images of the flooding which tore through the region at the weekend.

While none of his family or friends were directly affected, the former Cumbrian used to work in some of the worst hit areas.

Mr Pennington, from Starbeck, said: “I know the area and know what a small community is is over there. When something like this hits, it’s quite devastating. You can take the man out of Cumbria, but you can’t take Cumbria out of the man.

Harrogate residents have rallied around and Mr Pennington has filled his van with everything from food and blankets to nappies.

It comes after he put out an appeal on Facebook, which announced that he would be parking outside the Victoria Shopping Centre on Monday and receiving donations.

Mr Pennington said: “I generate a lot of business on Facebook so I thought that was the way to go and the support has been brilliant.

“People have been ringing and messaging me to arrange to drop items off.

“We haven’t been accepting cash, just food and clothing. So when people have realised this, they have gone off and bought something and brought it back to the van.”

Mr Pennington has also teamed up with Ripon resident Lau Brown, who has also been collecting for the floods. The pair linked up after spotting each other’s appeals on social media.

After filling the van, Mr Pennington drove up to Cumbria this morning, where he plans to head to Keswick and the more rural areas of the Lake District.

He said: “I was going to go towards Kendal but when I spoke to the council there, they said they had been inundated with donations. I’ve got a few contacts so I’m going to take the van to other parts of the region that have been hit.”

The Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association has joined emergency teams from across the country in helping to evacute properties in Carlisle.

Today the government announced a £50 million fund for families and businesses affected by flooding in Cumbria and Lancashire.