DETERMINED nine-year-old Delilah Johnson got so fed up waiting for a badly damaged canal bridge outside her home to be repaired - that she penned her own letter to Canal and River Trust chiefs to demand action!

Young Delilah lives with her parents Kelly and Peter at the recently re-opened canalside Anchor Inn in Salterforth - which has Bridge 151 of the 200-year-old Leeds-Liverpool canal right outside it. But a van careered into the parapet of the heritage bridge in April last year, leaving it very badly damaged. The Trust promptly acted to make the hump-backed bridge safe - but nearly eight months later it has still not been properly repaired.

Delilah, a pupil at Heathland School in Accrington, got so annoyed at looking at the bridge from her bedroom window every day that she decided it was time to act.

Her mum Kelly said: “Delilah is very ‘pro-active’ anyway, and once she decides to do something she does it. Villagers have been trying to get something done, but to no avail.

“I think she just got fed up with the situation, especially as she uses the bridge to get to the park.

“She decided to write the letter herself and she composed the letter herself - we are very proud of her.”

Delilah’s letter said: “Please repair this bridge for me and then I will be safe, and all the other children. Also at night dogs, runners and cyclists might go through that bridge and get hurt.”

A spokesperson for the Canal and River Trust said: “We’re so glad that Delilah takes a keen interest in her local canal and is concerned about looking after the bridge so that everyone can continue to enjoy spending time by or on the water.

“Fortunately, in this instance we have been able to claim through the driver’s insurance company for the cost of around £20,000. It takes time to do this, and the work will be carried out early in 2019, taking about a week to complete.

“We’d like to invite Delilah to join our construction team on site in the new year and find out more about how we look after these historic canal bridges. Anyone who witnesses a vehicle striking a canal bridge should report it to us by calling 03030 404040, giving the registration number if possible.”

lThe Anchor Inn, which pre-dates the construction of the canal, is well-known locally for the stalagmites and stalactites that form in its cellar. When the bridge was built the inn had to be extended upwards to accommodate the hump-back.

This meant that the original cellar was left well below ground and the canal. Over the centuries, the cellar has been filled with stalactites and stalagmites as water has dripped through the limestone rock - creating a natural but rarely seen spectacle.