William Wyldbore-Smith, High Sheriff of Wiltshire, visited Bradford on Avon fire station on Monday to thank to the emergency services that were on duty over the Christmas Eve floods.

Mr Wyldbore-Smith and his wife Prisca listened to emergency personnel describing the events that unfolded, with the help of a map to show him the affected areas in the town.

A crew of eight retained firemen from Bradford on Avon spent over 24 hours on duty from December 23-26 and a crew of 13 retained firemen from Trowbridge spent over 23 hours on duty from December 23-24.

They pumped water away from homes, evacuated people that were in danger of rising flood waters and made sure people in the town were safe and informed.

Mr Wyldbore-Smith said: “They were on duty at a crucial time. They took it as a matter of course, which is why it is important to say thank you.

“I have seen a number of people who are extremely grateful to the services.

"It makes you realise just how incredibly dangerous the situation was and what could have been if the town had not been cared for by extremely professional people.”

Bradford on Avon watch manager Sean Gerrish has lived in the town all his life and has been a retained fireman in the town for 29 years.

He said: “I have never seen floods like that. Teamwork is the key in this job.

"My team all acted in a professional manner that we expect nothing less of. If the emergency services had not have been there, it could have been a lot more serious.”

Trowbridge watch manager Stuart Derrick said: “They (the crew) knew what to do and got on with the job.

"I think people don’t realise you don’t need deep water to be in serious danger. It can take you off your feet in seconds.”

The floods closed Town Bridge from Christmas Eve until Boxing Day and flooded areas were taped off to prevent people from entering them. Police on duty made sure that people abided by the bridge and road closures.

PC Martin Annetts, of Bradford on Avon police station, said: “Between the emergency services we all got together and made the best out of the shocking events that unfolded at the worst possible time.”