The devastating floods that wreaked havoc on December 5 last year will go down as a pivotal moment in the history of Cumbria and, in years to come, will be recalled as a grim episode in the area's folklore.

Thousands of homes and businesses were flooded across the county as rain unleashed by Storm Desmond caused chaos and misery. In South Lakeland and Eden numerous communities were hit, including Kendal, Burneside, Bowness, Backbarrow, the Lyth Valley, Ambleside, Grasmere, Glenridding and Appleby.

More than three months later many people, who also lost possessions in the floods, are still not back in their homes. For those who were not fully insured the experience is even more distressing.

Despite the awfulness of the floods one thing shone through from day one - the tremendous community spirit and willingness of people to help those who had suffered so badly.

It has ranged from people offering lifts home to those forced to abandon their cars in flood water; to people bringing food and clothing to those seeking shelter at refuges like Kendal Leisure Centre; to selfless folk who helped clear up water and mud-logged neighbours' homes.

People have given generously or staged events to raise funds for flood victims or to give them a Christmas treat. Churches and charitable groups have set up drop-in centres where people can call in for advice or simply for a chat and a cup of tea with warm-hearted supportive volunteers.

It is to help recognise some of these largely unsung people that The Westmorland Gazette has this week launched its Flood Heroes initiative.

We are urging people to nominate individuals or groups they feel have gone the extra mile to help and support people whose lives were badly disrupted by December's floods.

It could be someone who helped in some way over that first difficult weekend - or someone who has gone out of their way to be supportive in the weeks and months that followed.

Please contact with your nominations and we'll aim to tell their heartwarming stories in the Gazette.