THE Bridport and Lyme Regis News is joining forces with west Dorset Rotary clubs to raise money for people affected by the terrible storms sweeping the area.

Our readers have a fabulous record of digging deep when disaster strikes–anywhere in the world.

Most recently you helped to raise money for victims of the typhoon that wreaked havoc in the Philippines.

But now we are dealing with a disaster much closer to home.

Communities in Dorset and neighbouring counties have felt the full force of the seemingly never-ending storms that have brought misery for weeks.

Farms have been devastated and small businesses are struggling to make ends meet.

Now Rotary in District 1200, which includes clubs in Lyme Regis, Bridport and Brit Valley, Portland, Weymouth, Weymouth Harbourside, Melcombe Regis, Dorchester and Dorchester Casterbridge, is spearheading the appeal to help those in need.

District governor Brian Kirkup has established a small team to assess individual cases of need and allocate funds.

Mr Kirkup said: ““We are now faced with horrendous flooding affecting villages and the farming community across Dorset and the Somerset Levels, and indeed along parts of our coastline.

“Rotarians are offering accommodation for those displaced, sourcing dry animal feed, which is a major issue now, recovering cars, helping with the shopping and many other little tasks to try to make and life just a bit easier for those affected.

“The emergency services are now in control of all movement in many areas. Rotary are of course ready to respond if called on as the situation changes.

“So, our residents will need all the help they can get to put their lives back together. As you would expect, Rotary plans to be there for them. It will not be a pleasant task but we intend to be there to help out.

“When the situation is such that the waters have receded we will put together a plan to address the cleanup.

“From our experience of last year, small teams of four equipped with the proper clothing and bringing their own cleaning materials seemed to work.

“What will actually be needed remains unknown, but whatever it is Rotary and other volunteers groups will do what they can to help in getting everyone back to some sort of normality.”.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News editor Toby Granville said: “Our readers have always given generously when we have asked them to help.

“You have helped communities across the globe but now it is our neighbours who need our help.

“We know times are tough for everyone but even the smallest amount can help to make a difference to those who face losing everything.”

Cheques should be made out to Rotary International, District 1200 Charity Account and sent to Flood Appeal, Bridport and Lyme Regis News, 67 East Street, Bridport, DT6 3LB.