The bridge foundations were damaged by floods on Boxing Day 2015 and a partial collapse happened 3 days later after the bridge had been in use for over 300 years. During the height of the flood 650 tons of water were passing under the bridge every second. The rebuilding process has taken a year so far and will continue for some time yet, but the first vehicles were allowed to cross on February 3rd. The long planned celebration day was arranged for February 19th .
The day dawned cold but with Street Entertainers, a Medieval Market a display of Classic Cars and plenty of further attractions, including a visit by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu and also a Firework Display being planned for the evening, saw the centre of the town very busy, mostly with local people, in spite of it being winter. Cafes and pubs were full to overflowing and they will have enjoyed a good days trading. Most of the shops had opened for business and the Fish & Chip Shop had a queue across the street.
Our club had been invited to form a car display along with local owners, and 19 cars were arranged on one side of the High Street, which was closed to traffic for the day. The cars ranged from the 1920’s to the 1990’s and created a lot of interest, especially a blue Lea Francis whose owner was from Wetherby and club member Gordon Scargill’s 1994 Mini Cooper Monte Carlo. Other cars much admired included a 1935 Railton Shooting Brake and club member Ronnie Rodley’s very smart little Red MG Midget. The star of the show though was Mervyn Hoyle and his 1936 Austin 7 van, which is signwritten and fitted out as a Greengrocers delivery vehicle. An impressive display of cameras appeared when he was visited by the Archbishop of York and they posed for pictures for the local press.
The day ended fairly quickly as the February weather closed in and this began to send people indoors, and by 3.30 cars had started to leave.
An interesting day was enjoyed by those who attended, one that will probably not be forgotten quickly, or hopefully ever to be repeated.