The Duke of Rothesay has backed efforts to restore a famous Deeside bridge all but destroyed by storms four years ago.
Prince Charles has donated a significant sum of money to fund the restoration of Cambus O’May Bridge, near Ballater, which was badly damaged by Storm Frank.
The fast-flowing River Dee battered the historic structure, with debris and even caravans smashing into it as the water continued to rise in December 2015.
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The cast-iron suspension bridge, which first opened in 1905, was closed off to the public as a result.
But now, thanks to support from the Duke of Rothesay and fundraising in the local community, work could start as early as next year to bring the iconic white bridge back into use.
It is not the first time Charles has stepped in to help the Ballater community, which he regularly visits when staying at nearby Birkhall.
He spearheaded a number of projects to get the village back on its feet following the floods, with the caravan park first on his list.
He also donated money towards the restoration of a 1950s carriage on the Deeside line after it was damaged by vandals.
Robert Lovie, director of outreach for the Prince’s Foundation, said: “His Royal Highness is determined to see the lovely Edwardian suspension bridge at Cambus O’May restored.
“It is admired by everyone driving past and walking alongside the Dee, and now the efforts of the local community are about getting it back to what it was – an icon and viewpoint prized by those in Royal Deeside.
“In the same vein as the support he offered throughout 2016 following Storm Frank, His Royal Highness has made a personal donation, and the Prince’s Foundation is generating in-kind support from the business community to assist the contractor to get the work done.”
The precise amount donated by the Duke of Rothesay has not been revealed, however the total cost of restoring the bridge has been estimated to be around £400,000. Aberdeenshire Council has already committed £250,000 towards the project.
The local charity Ballater Royal Deeside has also been working hard to raise cash for the restoration of the bridge.
So far, the campaigners have raised around 10% of a £150,000 target.
Kate Allum, from the charity, said: “We’re looking for any help through fundraising activity or donations and anyone who wishes to be a part of our effort should get in touch with us.
“For the local community and visitors, Cambus O’May bridge is a cherished feature on a beautiful part of the river.
“Like Polhollick Bridge, it is part of our heritage and our countryside, and the fact that it looks so sad at the moment is awful.
“It cannot be allowed for something that is so important to our local community to be left as a scar on the landscape.
Peter Argyle, chairman of the council’s infrastructure committee, added: “On behalf of Aberdeenshire Council, I would like to extend thanks to His Royal Highness for this generous donation towards the fundraising campaign to have this iconic bridge reinstated for public use.”
It is expected work on Cambus O’May will commence in late spring or early summer next year.