On Tuesday, 27 September, The Queen visited Ballater in Aberdeenshire to meet members of the community whose livelihoods were affected by flooding in December last year and to hear of the recovery that has been achieved thus far.
As Storm Frank battered Scotland in the lead up to New Year the River Dee burst its banks, badly affecting 600 homes and 100 businesses in Ballater. The cost of clean-up included repairs and refurbishment of flood-damaged council houses and ran into millions of pounds.
The Queen’s visit began with a walk along Bridge Street to see the ongoing stages of repair and rebuilding that the local businesses are going through. Her Majesty met people involved in the recovery effort and one of the people she spoke with was John Sinclair, the co-owner of HM Sheridan butchers.
Of her visit and his conversation with The Queen, Mr Sinclair said ‘We lost all stock and machinery under about 3ft of water. There was nothing left. Luckily, through staff work and good insurance, we managed to get going again and, but it wasn’t easy. The first few weeks everyone stuck together and that’s something the Queen seemed to know about. She was really impressed with the way it’s been turned around and she was full of praise for all the help from everywhere, as we all are.’
The Queen also met with residential victims of the flood and local community members who worked hard in the wake of the crisis including representatives from the Aberdeenshire Council, Fire Brigade, Police and Rotary Club.
Her visit allowed her an opportunity to view the landscape of Ballater Caravan Park, which was devastated by floodwaters, and to attend a reception for the reopening of the Ballater Golf Club.
Ballater is close to Balmoral Castle – The Queen’s private residence in Scotland – where Her Majesty is currently staying on her yearly summer retreat.