A PAINTING depicting the battle to save York from last year's floods has been presented to the city by the soldiers who were the mainstay of the massive operation.

The oil painting, commissioned by 2 Signal Regiment, based at Imphal Barracks, shows soldiers from the regiment, police, firefighters and residents mounting the major sandbagging operation which saved 750 homes in the Leeman Road area.

On the evening of November 3, the emergency services, strengthened by the presence of the hard-working troops, toiled away to bolster the existing flood defences with 15,000 sandbags as the River Ouse rose to its peak of 5.4 metres.

The regiment was presented with the Freedom of the City of York in recognition of its tireless efforts following a joint nomination by the Evening Press and council leader Coun Rod Hills.

The painting, by local artist Mark Braithwaite, who has studios in Stonegate, was presented to the Lord Mayor of York, Coun Irene Waudby by the commanding officer of 2 Signal Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Ian Cameron-Mowat, at a ceremony yesterday.

"This painting underlines the close relationship we have built up with the city of York over the years," said Lt Col Cameron-Mowat.

Updated: 11:55 Friday, July 20, 2001