OREANDA-NEWS. Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) has made a contribution of ?10,000 to the RNLI in the north east to recognise the assistance given by its volunteers in the aftermath of severe flooding which hit Upper Deeside at the turn of the year.

Combined torrential rainfall and rapid snowmelt produced a flood surge which brought danger and caused major damage in Ballater and surrounding areas on 30 December 2015. The force of the swollen river caused huge damage to infrastructure, cutting road links and sweeping away whole sections of overhead power line.

In the days following the flood, SHEPD engineers battled to restore power to customers safely and rebuild 22 spans of overhead line between Aboyne, Ballater and Braemar, including 4 crossings of the Dee. An appeal for assistance was answered by RNLI volunteers from the Aberdeen lifeboat station who brought rocket-powered line throwers to enable strengthened new overhead lines to be strung across the river even while it remained in spate. You can see the video here (https://vimeo.com/154840650)

SHEPD’s Regional Manager for the North East Neil Wilson said:
“Without the local RNLI’s support, it could have taken much longer to safely rebuild the river crossings which had been swept away. Over successive days, they helped rebuild power lines, repair telephone links and provide whatever support they could to the emergency response.

“The part played by RNLI volunteers is one example of the spirit with which the whole community responded to the emergency. Their specialist skills and resources were given freely in support of the recovery effort. So many others joined them in setting aside their normal family and working lives to help in whatever way they could.

“We want to make a small contribution to their work in return, recognising the big difference they made for our customers. We have seen first hand their commitment and resourcefulness, so I don’t doubt that the money will be put to very good use.”

Local RNLI Operations Manager Bill Deans said:
“RNLI volunteers in Aberdeen were keen to help the local community during the bad weather and we are very grateful for this financial contribution which will help us to continue our long tradition of helping people in need, whether that be at sea or in more unusual circumstances such as these.

“The crew deal with a very varied workload and they receive the best possible training to help them to help others.”