Belfast Telegraph

Queen writes letter to tell families of sympathy at flooding in north west

By Leona O'Neill

The Queen has written to families impacted by floods which devastated the north west, telling them of her sadness at the incident and paying tribute to those who helped in their hour of need.

Hundreds of families in Londonderry had to leave their homes after two-thirds of the average August rainfall came down in a matter of hours on August 22.

Roads and bridges collapsed all over the north west, 93 people had to be rescued from their cars or homes in flood waters, farm animals drowned in the deluge and the River Faughan burst its banks, sweeping away several cars.

On Monday a letter arrived at the YMCA centre in Drumahoe, which was the centre of efforts to help families affected.

It had travelled all the way from Balmoral Castle and was hand-delivered by the Lord Lieutenant of Co Londonderry, Denis Desmond, CBE. There to receive it was the YMCA's General Secretary, Willie Lamrock.

The Queen wrote: "I was saddened to learn of the devastating flooding, which has affected County Londonderry and the surrounding areas. Please convey my sympathy to those who have been affected, and my thanks and appreciation to the volunteers, community workers and members of the emergency services who have been involved in the response."

Mr Lamrock said the Queen's heartfelt gesture lightened a very dark period and showed "the type of lady" she is.

"Denis Desmond had done a report on the flooding for Her Majesty," he said. "And she came back with this lovely letter. It is unusual that she came back on an issue like this. There were no fatalities. So it was surprising that she would react to something as localised as this."

He added: "We were absolutely delighted to receive the acknowledgement that she was thinking about us."

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