Residents unite in effort to save Christmas for Stonehaven flood victims

Residents have united in a flood hit Aberdeenshire town in an effort to save Christmas for those who have been evacuated from their homes.

Stonehaven was badly affected by flooding on Sunday after torrential rain with dozens forced from their homes.

Since then donations of Christmas gifts have been taken to the Royal Hotel on the town’s Market Square after it emerged that several children faced waking up with nothing on Christmas morning due to flood damage.

Volunteers said they had been “overwhelmed” by the response with hundreds of toys and donations of food pouring in.

The town’s Co-op donated 40 hampers to help those affected.

Michelle Ward, a local hotelier who made the initial call for donations via Facebook, said: “We put an appeal for some presents and go and cheer people up.

“Just wow. We are overwhelmed. We had to stop taking donations last night at the hotel because we had no where to put them and David Fleming organised opening up the town hall and it’s just been packed since we opened the door. I don’t know what we will do with all the stuff.”

Community councillor and Stonehaven Town Partnership secretary David Fleming added: “It’s a he, enormous community effort. Stuff just keeps arriving, and arriving and arriving, we now have far too much.

“It’s fantastic. People are so generous. We are running out of people to give it to. It’s the miracle before Christmas.”

Community council chairman Michael Innes said: “It’s a brilliant community spirit again. It’s been absolutely brilliant.”

Aberdeenshire provost Jill Webster said the community spirit in the town was “amazing”.

“It is very heartening indeed. The town hall is full to brimming with donations from the public, she said.

“It is fantastic how the community binds together at a time like this.”

Stonehaven and Lower Deeside councillor Peter Bellarby spent Monday morning talking to residents as they began the clean-up process on High Street.

“The community reaction to this has been outstanding. If anything good has come of this it’s the community’s reaction,” he said.

Fellow councillor Graeme Clark added: “Stonehaven people rally round as they did last weekend after the storms.

“It’s good to see the way people rally round, especially this time of year. Some of these people are not long back in their houses and it has happened again.”

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