WHEN the first floods of 2020 arrived in February, and caused wide spread damage in different measure to all of the town's sporting hubs, little did we all know back then what else the year had in store for us.

With the impact of Covid-19, each sport has in turn experienced limited opportunity for playing, and consequently significant loss of revenues in respect of member subscriptions, bar, and sponsorship income.

Just when there was some light at the end of the tunnel, the fastest flash flood to date hit each venue again in early November.

So rapid was this flood, that even the Environment Agency were taken by surprise, and the different sports were once again left to count the huge cost of repairs, recovery and further revenue losses.

Ben Rhydding Sports Club, with two astroturf hockey pitches and a 4G football pitch, has over £2 million worth of playing surface assets to protect.

Whilst the February flood did cause significant damage to their premier hockey pitch, the club were able to recover it.

Yet, no sooner had they started playing on it again, the severity of the November flood caused irreparable damage to the same pitch, which will have to be replaced.

The club will now be one pitch down until next summer, which in turn means further loss of much-needed pitch hire revenues.

Thanks to the help of an army of helpers and the flood barrier gates, the clubhouse and older hockey second pitch were saved. Although numbers are tight with Ilkley Grammar School also now using that pitch.

Prior to Boxing Day 2015, severe flooding in Ilkley was a rarity, but since then, the town has experienced on average two or three serious flooding episodes per year.

The sports club has set up a Flood Action Committee to urgently look into additional flood resilience measures.

A fundraising campaign is already underway, with an initial target of raising £40,000 to reduce the effects of flooding on these important and valuable assets.

During the summer, the ladies hockey first team took part in a sponsored bike ride where six members each completed 254kms riding cost to coast from Whitehaven to Whitby, covering 55miles per day, and raising £2,100.

Not to be outdone, the men’s firsts have recently launched their own challenge.

The squad are trying to complete the 2020km on foot by Christmas Day.

Some squad members have notched up impressive episodes including Rob Elsworth's 30km run and the the longest single dash by David Birch with an impressive 32.22km.

Ben Rhydding Sports Club Community Benefit Society Ltd has now set up a Just Giving page, and hope all members, parents and friends of the club will rally round.

If you want to make a donation to help cheer the Ben Rhydding men's hockey team on, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/2020kmHockey