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Keith community rallies to help vulnerable during gas outage


By Jonathan Clark

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KEITH'S tight-knit community pulled together this week after a gas outage left the town in the cold.

On Tuesday morning, gas supplies in both Keith and Huntly were cut off, leaving 4500 households, as well as care homes and hospitals, without heating for more than 24 hours amidst freezing temperatures.

But few in the area grumbled and groaned, with people coming together to help the vulnerable in the community, as well as the 100 SGN engineers drafted in from around Scotland working to get the gas back on.

One of the engineers said that he "could not believe the hospitality" on show in the Friendly Town.

Councillor Theresa Coull (Keith and Cullen, SNP), who works with the Keith Covid-19 Support Group, said: "It wasn't easy for a lot of folk, it's the wrong time of year for the gas to go off.

Keith and Cullen..Theresa Coull (SNP)...Picture: Lyn MacDonald. Image No. 037533.
Keith and Cullen..Theresa Coull (SNP)...Picture: Lyn MacDonald. Image No. 037533.

"But the community spirit was absolutely brilliant, everybody checked on their neighbours and made the best of it that they could.

"People in Keith were putting up posts on social media offering out extra heaters or to pick up items for others. Folk have gone out of their way to help each other.

"One of the gas guys was saying he couldn't believe the hospitality in Keith and that their job was made easy by everybody in the town.

"There were no big dramas and they have done a sterling job. They were out working until 11pm when it must have been freezing cold.

"The workers were so pleasant and we are so appreciative of the help they gave everybody."

Along with getting the gas on quicker than expected, SGN engineers travelled from various parts of the country with portable heaters for vulnerable residents.

The gas network also went door-to-door to ensure everyone was capable of getting supplies running again.

SGN vans on the scene in Huntly, helping to restore gas supplies. Picture: David Black
SGN vans on the scene in Huntly, helping to restore gas supplies. Picture: David Black

An SGN spokesperson said: "Thank you to everyone in Huntly and Keith for your patience while you were without gas.

"We know it was not easy and we are extremely sorry for the disruption you experienced."

Elsewhere in the town, a number of businesses showed their generosity in helping those in the community.

Ugie House Hotel offered hot food and drinks to the SGN workers, as well as making stovies for people in the community – which were delivered by the Keith Covid-19 Support Group.

Keith's Ugie House Hotel owner Robbie Martin... Ugie House jumped to the aid of the SGN engineers and the local community.
Keith's Ugie House Hotel owner Robbie Martin... Ugie House jumped to the aid of the SGN engineers and the local community.

The support group's food larder was open, while G&M Whyte Catering offered soup to people that couldn't get a hot meal.

The Premier Convenience Store, run by Munish Tandon, gave out seven electric heaters to those in need.

Local teenager Jordan McMillan (18) said everyone pulled together to help those most in need.

"We were all helping each other, keeping elderly neighbours who don't have internet informed," he said.

"We have got quite a good community here in Keith."

An enquiry into what caused the gas outage will take place in due course.


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