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‘It was really that close a call’: North-east charity left in a race against time to save birds from enclosure amidst Storm Malik

A total seven aviaries were left disintegrating and on the brink of collapse after being battered by gale force winds.
A total seven aviaries were left disintegrating and on the brink of collapse after being battered by gale force winds.

Founders of an animal rescue centre have described how they faced a race against time to save a number of birds after Storm Malik left their enclosure on the brink of collapse.

Staff at the North East Wildlife and Animal Rescue Centre leapt into action to save several birds, housed in an outdoor aviary as gale force winds battered the north-east.

A total of seven aviaries were left disintegrating and at brink of collapse amidst the strong winds.

Founder Keith Marley explains how they were left with just 10 minutes to spare as the structures buckled before their eyes.

“There were two or three birds in the aviaries which we managed to get out before too much damage was done,” the founder said.

“We got the last bird out 10 minutes before the whole aviary collapsed so it was really that close a call. It was a huge relief.”

Storm Malik destroys outdoor enclosures

Boundary fences surrounding the centre, located just outside of Ellon, were also torn down by the gale force winds as the net roof on their cat pen collapsed.

What a day! The wind is easing and our power has been restored at last – well done to the "leccy folks"More damage…

Posted by THE NEW ARC on Saturday, 29 January 2022

He estimates around £10,000 worth of damage has been done in the wake of the stormy weather.

Double-whammy following Storm Arwen

The charity had been in the midst of carrying out repairs following the devastating impact of Storm Arwen last year when the conditions hit.

Mr Marley says it’s been “all hands on deck” as they prepare for the impending destruction heading their way in the wake of Storm Corrie.

He said: “We still hadn’t got over Storm Arwen, we are still doing repairs from then but the storm yesterday has just flattened about seven aviaries.

“There are fences down and felt top roofs damage. It’s costly damage but it’s not life threatening.

“There was other damage as well – including to the cat pens – so we’ve been running about like mad things today just trying to prop everything up with Storm Corrie on its way.

“We have just had all hands on deck trying to minimise what potential damage their could be from Storm Corrie.”

Mr Marley added: “We have been going round safeguarding everything we have got and making sure all the pens are locked up tight and double barred.

“It’s still been a very stressful day with unfortunately a stressful night ahead.”

The charity has now launched a fundraising drive to help them rebuild what has been lost during the three storms.

More than £1,700 has so far been raised to help them prepare for an influx of arrivals during the spring.

Last year more than 1,600 animals were taken in by staff at the shelter.

Mr Marley and his wife Pauline say they are “overwhelmed” by the outpouring of public support.

He said: “We are so overwhelmed. People have been ever so kind. We can’t thank them enough. In fact we would have thanked them a lot of them if we could have but unfortunately our power was out yesterday as well.”

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