Play / pause The Angel of Whaley Bridge

The Angel of Whaley Bridge

  • Terry McDermott
  • Interview by: Jess Boydon


The people from Whaley Bridge

christened the Chinook, "The Angel of Whaley Bridge".

I'm going to get a tear in my eye now.

But we received some artwork,

so this is one of the things that we received,

and this a picture that was hung up on one of the walls,

and it's a picture of a Chinook, a fire engine,

and there's a police helmet there,

and this is the water coming out of the dam.

It was quite an emotional week,

there was a lot of people were evacuated,

and we ran two public meetings,

where 200 and odd people turned up,

including the Prime Minister to one of those meetings.

And the gratitude of the people from Whaley Bridge

demonstrated to all of us in the emergency services,

and in particular as well the RAF,

was quite unbelievable really.

The community of Whaley Bridge were

just absolutely fantastic throughout that incident

in supporting us.

So when I hear the sound the Chinook now,

I will forever be at Whaley Bridge,

at that major incident zone in my head.

(Chinook's rotors buzzing)

during the week where it went away for a day or so,

and in that period when it left there was,

"Where's the Chinook?"

We had lots and lots of people asking us,

"Was everything okay?"

And "Where is it?"

And then, of course, when it came back,

there were lots of people saying,

"Is something wrong, it's back again?"

So it was there, it was a constant throughout the incident,

when it wasn't there, it created concern,

because what it did do is public reassurance.

The fact that the Chinook was flying over

and they'd christened it, "The Angel of Whaley Bridge",

it was just that acknowledgment of public reassurance,

"Everyone is here, doing everything they can,

to save our town."

And they were all very, very proud of what was going on,

and very supportive of what was taking place.

So similarly for, as it is for me,

I'll always associate the sound of a Chinook

with Whaley Bridge.

The people who live in Whaley Bridge, similarly,

I think if ever they get one fly over,

they'll be cheering and waving at it.

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