Fundraising campaign begins

A MAJOR fundraising campaign is getting underway in the wake of the second run of major disasters to hit Stonehaven in three years.

As well as the general public, the business community are being asked to help alleviate the far-reaching and catastrophic effects.

The town was seriously hit by a combination of storms and flooding over the two weeks running up to Christmas and a multi-agency fundraising committee has been set up by the town’s Flood Relief Group under the auspices of the Rotary Club of Stonehaven Charitable Trust Fund (SC035243).

Bill Allan and Douglas Knox from Stonehaven Rotary Club, Tony Bilsdon from the Stonehaven Lions, Lindsay Verstralen, a Stonehaven resident and Michelle Ward, Director of Stonehaven Town Partnership are now in place to co-ordinate and support fundraising activities and assist in initiating further fundraising, locally, in the area and nationally.

A spokesman for the fundraising committee said that all donations will be kept in this fund and distributed “as expediently as possible” under the guidance of a disbursement committee also set up by the Flood Relief Group.

Early indications are that the residents of Stonehaven have not wasted any time in getting going. There was a considerable amount of fundraising activity by individuals, organisations and local businesses over the festive period and at present over £2000 has been lodged with the fund.

Mrs Verstralen, Chair of the Fundraising Committee told the Leader she is delighted with the response and the start which has been made. She said: “There is a huge sense of community in Stonehaven, a community which is rallying round to help its own. The task however is enormous and the cost is high. We’re hoping for continued support to help get our friends, neighbours and families home as soon as possible.”

The nightmare for Stonehaven began when a storm wreaked havoc along the seafront area with houses and businesses flooded and damaged from Cowie village to the harbour area.

Hanover Court and Turner Court sheltered housing were badly affected with residents evacuated in the middle of the night.

The harbour area was also badly hit and the MRI centre suffered extensive damage to properties and lifesaving equipment.

Then the flood the following week brought fresh disaster to the Old Town area and homes adjacent to the River Carron, which overflowed, filling the High Street with over a metre of water. These, ironically were the same properties which were so badly hit in 2009.

In an update to the scale of damage suffered by the town, the fund-raising group say a total of 75 properties have been severely affected by flooding and most will be uninhabitable for some time to come. Many residents who have been temporarily rehoused will require more permanent accommodation until their homes are fit for habitation, which could be some months in many cases.

Cheques can be made payable to the Rotary Club of Stonehaven.