Cockermouth travel agent back in business ‘hours’ after floods

A Cumbrian travel agent driven from his shop by last week’s floods was back in operation within hours and has already found new premises.

Cockermouth Travel proprietor Paul Cusack was forced to vacate the shop that the family-owned business had occupied for 30 years when the downpour hit Cockermouth on November 19, flooding the shop with up to 4ft of water in minutes.

Despite being warned of the impending flood, Cusack was still taken aback when the downpour started. “What shocked us was the speed at which the water rose,” said Cusack.

“The last time there was a flood in 2005 it took four hours for the water to rise. This time, within 40 minutes, I was walking through 4ft of water.”

Cusack said that even though the shop was flooded at 1pm, by 4pm the phones were diverted and he had contacted technology provider TARSC, allowing staff to work from home.

He added: “I was shocked at the level of devastation when the water receded. But I had it on my mind what to do so I wasn’t thinking: ‘Oh my God’.”

On Friday he was offered space for his agency in another Cockermouth business, Mitchell’s Auction, and by Saturday morning the agency was running again.

Cusack is now sharing the premises with other local businesses, including a GP’s surgery, pharmacy and bookshop and has also been given emergency accommodation there.

Cusack added that his consortium, Advantage Travel Centres, has given support. Chief executive John McEwan telephoned him personally while new marketing materials are already in the post.

So far just one customer has cancelled a booking because of the flood, and that was because they had lost the home and their car in the disaster, said Cusack.

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