By Andy Hirst

A Colne Valley junior school thought it needed sandbags after water started to flood into a classroom … but a quick search on Google found something far better and it was just 10 minutes away.

The problem at Marsden Junior School on Manchester Road was caused by water cascading down a nearby hillside during torrential rain and then seeping through the walls and into the room.

Staff Googled the word ‘sandbags’ to try to find the nearest supplier but discovered FloodSax alternative sandbags and was amazed to discover the business is based in Golcar.

FloodSax ( are manufactured by Environmental Defence Systems Ltd so the staff drove straight to the company to pick the sandless sandbags up.

FloodSax are multi-purpose so in their dry state can soak up water but once immersed fully in water the gelling polymer inside absorbs the water and retains it, transforming the FloodSax into an instant sandbag but without any sand.

Marsden Junior School business manager Cath O’Connor said it was the second flood the school had suffered like this – the previous one was in January 2021.

She said: “When it rains heavily the water runs down the hillside and into the drains but the pipes are simply not designed for the amount of water we get these days.”

The Floodsax inside Marsden Junior School. Main image (top) shows Lucy Bailey from Environmental Defence Systems.

The water gushes back out of the drains and into the boiler house before soaking through the brickwork into the classroom next door.

In the most recent flood it seeped across the classroom floor, totally soaking the carpet.

The FloodSax were used to soak up the water and then to build a small temporary barrier in the corner of the classroom where the water was coming in.

The FloodSax contained the water which became deep enough to be then pumped out.

The classroom is now shut with the children who are normally in there being taught temporarily in the hall.

Cath said: “We’ll never use sandbags again as the FloodSax have been so flexible and multi-functional, both at soaking up the water and then as alternative sandless sandbags.”

Some have been stacked against the wall in the boiler house to try to stop the water getting through again if it rains heavily.

Kirklees Council has now power washed through the drains to get rid of any debris. Work is due to be done on site to make the drains bigger and more able to cope with large volumes of water.

But the classroom has been damaged which means the carpet has had to be ripped up, the walls will need replastering and it will require new skirting boards and then repainting.

Cath said: “We are still in the drying out phase so it will be a while before we can start work repairing the classroom which will be a big job. We are hoping it can be reopened sometime in January but that’s being quite hopeful.

“The damage water does is terrible. It’s bad enough having a flood in a school but it must be soul destroying when it happens in people’s homes.”

* Copyright for this story belongs to freelance journalist ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire agency AH! PR ( specialising in stories for the media, press releases, blogging, copywriting, scriptwriting and applying for awards.