A ‘beloved’ grandmother who died after being swept away in a river amid Storm Babet chaos has been named by police.
57-year-old Wendy Taylor was swept into the river at Water of Lee, in Glen Esk, north of Brechin, Angus, at around 1.45pm on Thursday.
Emergency services scrambled to the scene but the body of the ‘beloved wife, best friend and soulmate… mother and granny’ was recovered by officers around two hours later.
The incident occurred during a red weather warning in the area, as Storm Babet battered the north-east, with several homes in the Brechin were being evacuated.
Police issued a statement on behalf of Mrs Taylor’s family shortly after 6pm on Sunday. They described her as a ‘beautiful, kind, funny and caring’ person and said they were ‘absolutely heartbroken’ to have lost her.
57-year-old Wendy Taylor was swept into the Water of Lee, in Glenesk, north of Brechin, Angus, at around 1.45pm on Thursday
Speaking via Police Scotland today, Wendy’s devastated family said: ‘We are absolutely heartbroken to lose Wendy in such tragic circumstances and are still struggling to come to terms with it.
The statement came the same day residents in the most severely flooded part of Angus started returning to their homes as the clean-up got under way.
‘Wendy was a beautiful, kind, funny and caring person. She was a ray of sunshine for everyone who was fortunate enough to know her.’
The family added: ‘Wendy was the beloved wife, best friend and soulmate in life to George, mother to James, Sally and Susanna and Granny to India and George.
‘Our family would like to thank Police Scotland for their professionalism and sensitivity in recent days.
‘And in particular Paul Morgan of Police Mountain Rescue for recovering Wendy. Thank you to all of our extended family and friends for supporting us through this indescribably difficult time.’
It’s understood that Wendy, a director of the Taylor Snacks group, formally Mackie’s Crisps, was enjoying a luxury holiday at Invermark Estate when she was swept away during the storm
She was married to George, the owner of the snacks firm, joining the Taylor family who are well known in the Perthshire area and have farmed in the Errol area for around 100 years.
POWYS: Flooded fields in a Welsh town were amongst some of the scenes captured after tha widespread chaos brought by Storm Babet
SHROPSHIRE: The River Severn was flooded as the Environment Agency has warned that flooding from major rivers could continue until Tuesday
Flood high tide marks were seen over 5 foot high in the front room of Maureen Gilbert, 83, a housebound grandmother who died as she tried to flee rising water levels in her flooded house
A yellow weather warning for ice has been issued for overnight Sunday by the Met Office, less than 24 hours after the abatement of Storm Babet
DUNDEE: A car sits in the remains of a collapsed bridge at Fowlis, near the Scottish city, after Storm Babet. Locals said the occupant was rescued by a farmer
BRECHIN: Angus Council worker Gav Stewart proudly shows off a fish he found among the detritus after the River South Esk burst its banks and flooded the eastern Scottish town
DERBY: Fields near Derby rugby club sit underwater after the River Derwent burst its banks
On Thursday, 20 miles away and hours later, Storm Babet claimed its second victim after a 56-year-old man was killed after a falling tree hit a van near Forfar in Angus, and has not yet been named.
Police confirmed that the man was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on the B9127 at Whigstreet near Forfar, Angus.
Babet has wrought chaos across the country, with residents being evacuated from homes and reports of cars and lorries overturning amid dangerous conditions on the roads; motoring groups have warned against making unnecessary journeys.
Angus and Aberdeenshire were badly hit by the storm and teams have been clearing debris from roads, while those hit by flooding are making repairs.
The red and yellow weather warnings covering Dundee and the north-east of Scotland have expired and conditions improved on Sunday.
DERBY: Fields near Derby rugby club sit underwater after the River Derwent burst its banks
SANIACRE: An entire neighbourhood of the Derbyshire town sits partially submerged after severe flooding. Fire and rescue services have declared a ‘major incident’ in the county
CHESTERFIELD: A worker begins clearing the drains after floods washed out much of the Derbyshire town
RETFORD: A Land Rover driver churns his way along waterlogged roads in the Nottinghamshire town
On Wednesday, the Met Office issued a Red severe weather warning, as Storm Babet was expected to bring ‘exceptional rainfall’ to parts of the east of Scotland, including Brechin, Forfar and Kirriemuir.
A second red warning was in place on Friday for parts of eastern Scotland where we could see a further 70-100 mm of rain, with the highest accumulations over the hills.
A yellow weather warning for ice has been put in place by the Met Office for most parts of Scotland as well as parts of northern England, alerting drivers that ‘icy patches may cause some disruption to travel on Monday morning’.
A number of flood warnings remain in place around Scotland, but more of these are expected to be removed later in the day.
Residents of River Street in Brechin are trying to dry out as much of their homes as they can, as they survey the damage from the floodwater.
Hundreds fled the street and nearby areas when the River South Esk burst its banks and overtopped flood defences, which sent water pouring into the lower floors of many properties.
David Stewart, 68, was trying to salvage items from the flat he shares with his partner.
He told the PA news agency: ‘It’s just absolutely mind-blowing. The devastation looks even worse than I thought.’
Brian Petrie, 66, returned to find the lower floor of his house covered in silt and mud, with the carpet squelching as he walked and the fridge upended.
He was in the house as the flooding hit, sheltering upstairs with his 92-year-old mother as water poured in through the letterbox.
RETFORD: A man carries his dog through the flood-stricken streets of the Nottinghamshire town, after the county council advised locals to prepare to evacuate on Sunday
CATCLIFFE: Houses sit up to their windows in water after heavy rains caused the nearby River Rother to burst its banks, just outside Sheffield
She was rescued by Coastguard crews using a dinghy.
Mr Petrie said: ‘The Coastguards and paramedics got her down the stairs in a stretcher and took her in a dinghy up to the ambulance.’
She is now safe elsewhere in Angus.
George Wilson returned to find ‘awful’ damage in his ground-floor flat in River Street.
The 66-year-old is documenting the extent of it for insurance purposes.
‘I’m still trying to get my head around it,’ he said.
Earlier, Angus councillor Gavin Nicol said contaminated sludge and silt is ‘everywhere’ and the damage is ‘extensive’.
DERBYSHIRE: Vehicles lie abandoned in flood water in Chesterfield early on Saturday morning
LEEDS: A Toyota 4×4 braves the floods on Friday as it passes through Allerton Bywater in West Yorkshire
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE: A BMW sits partially submerged on a waterlogged road in the East Midlands
DUNDEE: A car became submerged in the road after a bridge collapsed, taking the vehicle with it. Locals said the occupant was rescued by a farmer
Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday Show, he said some people will not be able to return to their homes before Christmas.
Across Scotland, almost all homes which were hit by power cuts have now been reconnected, according to the Energy Networks Association.
However around 150 properties in Brechin are too badly affected by floodwater for power to be restored safely.
Jacqui Semple, head of risk, resilience and safety for Angus Council, said the local authority is now entering the recovery phase.
During a media briefing, she said the council will assess how many people will need to be rehomed, aiming to complete this work by the end of the week.
Ms Semple also discussed the ‘well-intentioned’ work of a local Angus business which has placed large sandbags along a section of a collapsed river wall in River Street in Brechin.
The red and yellow weather warnings covering Dundee and the north-east of Scotland have expired and conditions improved on Sunday
These will need to be removed, she said, as a structural assessment of the street still needs to take place.
She said: ‘What could happen is the road could give way.’
The storm led to two deaths north of the border and searches continue for a man reported missing to police on Friday, who is said to have been trapped in a vehicle in floodwater in Marykirk, Aberdeenshire.
ScotRail said the majority of its services will be able to run as normal on Sunday, but a number of lines, including Aberdeen to Dundee and Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh, remain closed.
More than half of the staff manning a North Sea drilling platform were airlifted to other sites on Saturday after several of its anchors came loose during the storm.
Coastguard helicopters were called upon to move 45 non-essential workers from the Stena Spey to neighbouring platforms and to Sumburgh on the Shetland Islands due to the incident.
The rig is located around 146 miles east of Aberdeen.
Residents of nearby Bridge of Dun had to be airlifted via helicopter, while in other areas people stranded by floodwater were rescued by boats, including canoes.
The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) said water levels in rivers will fall throughout Sunday.
However the public has been warned that dangers from floodwater and damaged infrastructure remains.
Sepa’s flood duty manager, Vincent Fitzsimons, said: ‘While the weather is an improving picture today, and rivers will continue to fall throughout the day, it’s important to remember that there are still hazards caused by floodwaters and it’s important not to put yourself at risk.
‘Sepa are removing the majority of local flood warnings but regional flood alerts remain in force in areas like Tayside and Aberdeenshire.
‘This reflects not only the dangers which still exist from standing floodwater, and fast-flowing river water, but also that there are important recovery activities under way.’