GALE force winds earlier this week caused a granite block to plummet from a building directly onto Inverurie’s High Street.
The incident was thought to be exacerbated by the wind catching a banner fixed on a wire between the building at 15 High Street and The Banks of Ury Hotel across the road.
Luckily the incident caused no injury to passers by and passing traffic. But it was a near miss as Craig Yule (31) explained: “I was walking along with my girlfriend and two kids. The banner was flapping in the wind and I looked up thinking it might come down, so I pulled the buggy back, but then the block came down. It was scary – my heart was racing.”
Visibly shaken, Craig’s partner, Carol Foubister (27) recalled that she, seven-year-old Levi and one-year-old Charlie were walking along with Craig. She said: “We were talking about the raft race – we always did when we saw the sign, and we noticed it was flapping and then the block came smashing down. It bounced on to the pavement and then landed in the middle of he road.
“I’m glad we had quick reflexes and got the buggy pulled back.”
Craig added: “The traffic stopped on cue and a builder rolled the stone back on to the pavement then several people came to help cut the wire and take the banner down.”
Building owner Graham Brownie estimated the block to weigh one-and-a-quarter hundredweight.
He said: “I’m delighted, to be honest, that no-one was hurt and I hope the family have got over the shock. That was my main concern.
“The block came away from the building and moved nine feet into the road. I’ve checked the pointing and the stonework and it’s all okay. It was the force of the wind on the banner.
“The reason the wire was there was to help promote Inverurie with different banners for different events. I remember when they put the hook into the wall about 20 years ago, it had to pass stringent stress and safety tests.
“The stone will go back in again and then we’ll look at a different form of attachment to prevent this ever happening again.”
The banner itself is owned by the Garioch Lions, while the wire belongs to Light Up Inverurie.
Lions member Jim Duff spoke on behalf of the Lions: “We requested permission from Light Up Inverurie to put the banner up. The banner is ours but we are not responsible for the wire. Thank goodness no one was hurt – that’s all we are saying.
“I’m very thankful that people came to help clear the road before I even arrived at the scene. Everyone worked really quickly to make the pavement safe for pedestrians and to clear the road for traffic to proceed.”
Although Jim couldn’t give details he concluded: “One way or the other we will work together to get the damage repaired as quickly as possible.”