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Staff save weekly’s offices from flooding

Quick-thinking staff at a weekly newspaper saved their offices from serious flood damage when a freak torrent of water flowed past.

The Teesdale Mercury’s base was one of the only premises in the area not to be flooded when Barnard Castle’s main street was turned into a river – after staff used an old door as a barricade.

Debbie Walsh, who was working in the paper’s shop downstairs, alerted Mercury manager Karen Laver who sprang into action pulling down shelves to use as a barricade.

She shouted for help to the print works and printer Terry Farrier and studio manager David Croom came to her aid, finding an old door to block the floodwater.

Karen uses the old door to block the flood.

Said Karen: “I asked for a bigger shelf and they came back with a door, which was lying around in the back.”

The barricade saved the offices from damage but other shops were not so lucky and had to be pumped of water by the fire brigade.

The flood last Thursday lunchtime followed an hour of torrential rain and saw the road turned into a river, sweeping along everything from vegetables and pot plants from the nearby shops to bins in the street.

Editor Trevor Brookes said: “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. One minute it was just another rainy day in July, the next we had a major flood on our hands.

“While our editorial staff were upstairs frantically trying to catch it all on cameras, the real work was taking place downstairs. They saved us from quite a headache.

“It was day we won’t forget. But one of the oddest memories for me will be a bus pulling up at the stop, which by now was smack, bang in the middle of this torrent. I’m not quite sure how the driver expected anyone to get off or on.”