AN MP has recalled the devastation that Storm Desmond left in its wake as the region looks back on the event five years on.

The storm, which hit the UK in December 2015, brought record-breaking rainfall and severe flooding to Cumbria.

And campaigners and public figures have taken the opportunity to stress the importance of getting Kendal's multi-million-pound flood defence scheme finally under way.

“The sight of forlorn Christmas decorations and sodden Christmas trees and presents that morning will stay with me for the rest of my life," said Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron.

“If you had told me back in 2015 that five years on we’d still be waiting for work to start on flood defences, there’s no way I would have believed you.

“It’s been five years of unimaginable anxiety and fear for residents and businesses every time there’s heavy rainfall.

"We owe it to our friends and neighbours to get this flood relief scheme built.”

Leone Edwards, who chairs the North East Kendal Flood Action Group and lives on Kendal's Sandylands estate, said: “Nobody expected to get flooded on Sandylands.

"It was significant. People being out of their homes for up to a year because the damage was so bad."

She said there was still 'a lot of anxiety' about flooding and hoped the town's flood defence scheme would get under way as quickly as possible.

“We’re still very much working with all the authorities to try and make everything go ahead, go as smoothly as possible,” she said.

Work on phase one of the £76m flood scheme is due to start early next year. Stewart Mounsey, flood risk manager at the Environment Agency (EA), said this phase would reduce the risk of flooding to 1,437 homes and 1,151 businesses across Kendal and surrounding areas.