Cumbria floods won't dampen Keswick Christmas lights as Prince Charles declares county 'open for business'

Prince Charles

Support: Prince Charles will turn on the Christmas lights

The Prince of Wales will spread the message that Cumbria is 'open for business' today when he turns on a town's Christmas lights.

Charles will share the honour of turning on Keswick's festive decorations with BBC Countryfile presenter Julia Bradbury.

He will also meet residents and community organisations, and view flood-hit areas in the market town to see how affected businesses are getting back on their feet.

Most of the shops and businesses in Keswick are open.

The villages of Braithwaite, Borrowdale, Bassenthwaite, Thornthwaite,
Honister Pass and Buttermere are also all operational with many attractions and accommodation open for tourists.

Cumbria Tourism, the lead organisation for an industry which employs one fifth of people in the county, wants visitors to see that many areas are largely unaffected by the floods and that it is safe to visit.

The shores of Ullswater in Cumbria

Draw: Areas like Ullswater attract tourists each year to Cumbria thanks to the region's natural beauty

The organisation said worldwide coverage of the worst-hit area had triggered a series of 'knee-jerk cancellations', with some people aborting holidays which were booked for as far ahead as spring next year.

Ian Stephens, chief executive of Cumbria Tourism, said: 'The Prince of Wales is a passionate supporter of Cumbria and tourism and has been instrumental in helping the area in the past.

Floods in Cockermouth, Cumbria

High rising: Cockermouth was another of the areas which were affected by the downpours

'His endorsement and influence captures the nation's attention and I'm delighted that he is here again to help Cumbria get back to normality.'

Ms Bradbury said: 'I can’t wait to get to Keswick to show my support. Turning on the lights will be a real honour as Keswick and I have had a love affair ever since the Wainwright Walks programmes.

Flood water covers a road in Keswick after the River Greta burst its banks

Devastating: Flood water covers a road in Keswick after the River Greta burst its banks. Prince Charles will turn on the town's Christmas lights

'I’m sure the people of the Lakes will use their resolve and sense of community to get through yet another tough challenge.'

Before going to Keswick, Charles will meet people at Northside Community Centre in Workington, an area cut off from the rest of the town after floods smashed and damaged bridges.

Workington was also hit by tragedy when Pc Bill Barker was swept to his death as the Northside Bridge collapsed into the River Derwent last Friday.

Later, the Prince will meet construction workers building a temporary railway station in the town, providing links for stranded residents on the north side of the river.

Tomorrow, Charles will visit Cockermouth, the worst-hit of the flooded towns, to meet representatives of organisations involved in the rescue operation.