Kirkstall Floods latest: Vote for Ian Astbury, Duffield Printers and Climbing Lab


A volunteer from Birmingham who gave up part of his Christmas holiday to help the victims of the Boxing Day floods in Kirkstall is in line for a top award – and West Leeds residents are being urged to vote for him.

Arriva bus driver Ian Astbury lives in Cannock, Staffordshire. He saw the Boxing Day floods on the telly and social media and wanted to do something to help. So he started an appeal, asking for donations.

Using his house as a drop off point his friends and work colleagues donated to his appeal. His employers, Arriva, have even donated the fuel for him to make the journey to Kirkstall. His house was quickly filled and the people carrier he intended to bring turned into a seven and a half-tonne truck.

Ian had been working as a bus driver all week. He finished work early New Year’s Day morning. At 11.30am the same day he arrived in Kirkstall and it took eight volunteers over an hour to unload the truck.

Ian’s been nominated as an Arriva Champion for the West Midlands – you can vote for him here.

Kirkstall councillor Lucinda Yeadon, who helped co-ordnate the clean up, said on Facebook:

“I just voted for Ian Astbury! Never mind the Arriva Champion of the Midlands… He’s the Arriva Champion of the Galaxy!… How do we vote in that category?”

Duffield Printers closes

Meanwhile, 127-year-old Duffield Printers, on Kirkstall Road, is set to close as a result of the damage caused by the floods. It was one of the businesses hit by the Boxing Day deluge that caused the Aire River to burst its banks.

Owner Martyn Diffield told Print Week most staff had been re-employed elsewhere but added:

“We are gutted, devastated. It’s been in the family for 127 years. Two world wars, recessions, depressions. I’ve taken the company through film, digital, floppy disks…

“I’ve cried my eyes out over it. It’s like a bereavement.”

Climbing Lab opens

New climbing centre, Climbing Lab, will be having their Grand Opening on Saturday – despite being hit by flooding on Boxing Day. The unit is based on Kirkstall Industrial Estate – but with a bit of grit and determination, accompanied with help and support from volunteers, they are ready to launch. Full details here.

Meanwhile, Manor Park Surgery in Bramley raised £56.18 for the Kirkstall Flood Appeal in January.


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