Inverurie hotelier hails community spirit after devastating flooding

Roads area still flooded this morning in the Port Elphinstone area of Inverurie
Roads area still flooded this morning in the Port Elphinstone area of Inverurie

The serious flooding brought out the “great community spirit” in Inverurie as people forced from their homes were put up in a local hotel.

Around 40 people stayed in the Strathburn Hotel in the Aberdeenshire village free of charge as the owners David and Elizabeth Barrack opened their doors to those in need.

All 27 rooms – which can cost up to £125 a night – were full with more people sleeping in lounge chairs and the floor of the hotel.

Flooding around the Port Elphinstone area of Inverurie
Flooding around the Port Elphinstone area of Inverurie

The property sits a distance away from the River Don and was not affected by the flooding.

Mr Barrack approached police on Thursday afternoon to tell them there was accommodation at his hotel if necessary for local people.

He said: “We’ve had people sleeping here, there and everywhere.

“A pregnant woman arrived at about 1am and we had no more rooms but a young man at the bar said he would move his stuff and slept on the floor to give her the room.

“There is great community spirit, everyone is talking to each other and it’s been very good actually. I went down to the police station yesterday and told them if anyone needed accommodation to send them up to us and the emergnecy services have done a good job.

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“Fortunately it’s a quiet period, it’s the first business week of the year so we’ve had spare rooms.”

Mr Barrack sympathised with those who have seen their properties damaged by flooding and said people will be welcome to stay at the Strathburn again.

“If needs be there will accommodation here again tonight,” he added.

“People obviously had to move quick last night and they’re obviously anxious to get home and check on their homes.

Steve Russell stayed at the hotel on Thursday night with his partner and dog.

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They returned home on Friday morning to see the damage to their home in Inverurie and told BBC Radio Scotland: “It looks pretty terrible. There is still a lot of standing water at the rear of the property. My partner is having a look inside to see if she can actually assess it.

“We’d been alert since late on Sunday and actually started moving electrical things and photographs and personal things that can’t be replaced upstairs just in case.

“We came home early on Thursday and the roads were diabolical and could see the river so we made more moves in the house with furniture and things put upstairs.

“It will have saved things that are sort of over four feet in the house, however anything that was attached to the walls will now be at risk of falling because water is just going to sponge up and any art or anything like that will just have to come off the walls.

“The walls themselves are destroyed, the floors are destroyed, the larger items of furniture that we could not move. The furniture is now probably destroyed and all that is really, really hard to take, particularly as this is our first house together a year and a half later so it’s really pretty painful for us both to go through just now.

He added: “You think you can make preparations but they don’t always work. You need to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”

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