Tribute to man who died after van hit tree during Storm Babette

Tributes have been paid to a “loved” family man who died when a tree hit his truck during Storm Babette.

John Gillan, 56, was driving on the B9127 at Whigstreet near Forfar, Angus, when the incident happened at around 5.05pm. of Thursday.

Mr Gillan, from Arbroath, was pronounced dead at the scene.

In a statement released through Police Scotland, his family said: “We are devastated by the loss of John and the circumstances in which he died.

“John was a loving husband to Gaynor, dad to Mark, father-in-law to Natasha and grandfather to Reagan and Finley.

“He was also a loving son of John and Moira, brother of Wendy and loving uncle, son-in-law and brother-in-law. John will be greatly missed by all of us.

“We thank the family and friends who supported us during this indescribably difficult time.

“We would like to ask that our privacy be respected while we mourn John.”

Police said there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and a report will be made to the coroner.

The storm claimed six lives across the UK, with Brechin in Angus worst hit last week as the South Esk River burst its banks and flooded dozens of homes.

Scotland's First Minister Humza Yousaf said there would be a “long road to recovery” for those affected by Storm Babette as he visited the city on Monday.

Mr Yousaf said the local council would get the funding it needed to recover, but warned that cleaning up after the floods was likely to take time.

The Prime Minister told reporters he would hold talks with the UK government about funding if needed, saying: “We're not at that stage yet, I think it's important that assessments are made in terms of the scale of the disaster, impact it will also be what funding is required.

“Then, of course, if necessary, we will have those talks with the UK government.”

He added: “I'm very keen to give an assurance to the residents here that I've spoken to, the businesses here that I've spoken to, the government is there to support them as much as we can during the long road to recovery.”

Residents living in River Street were first warned of the risk of the body of water breaching the local flood defense on Thursday as heavy rain caused levels to rise rapidly.

In the early hours of Friday morning, emergency services stepped up efforts to remove people from their properties as water began to pour over the sides of the defenses and flood the road.

Rest centers were set up in the city for individuals and families forced to leave their homes, and residents began returning in large numbers only on Sunday to assess the damage.

The First Minister's visit comes after a councilor said some people in Brechin could be forced out of their homes permanently.

Conservative councilor Gavin Nicol, who represents the Brechin and Edzell ward on Angus Council, called for more funding from the Scottish Government, speaking on BBC Radio Scotland on Monday: “I can tell you the effects of the flood will take months and years to be resolved.

“Angus Council unfortunately doesn't have the resources to do the job, it needs to protect residents.

“We really need funding from the Scottish Government to protect our residents, to repatriate them.

“Some will be out for months, if not permanently.”

Others who died during the storm included Wendy Taylor, 57, who was swept away in the water of the Lee at Glen Esk at around 1.45pm. of Thursday.

She was described in a tribute by her family as a beloved wife, mother and grandmother and “a ray of sunshine” to all who knew her.

Police confirmed on Monday that searches were continuing for a second man reported missing on Friday who was said to have been trapped in a vehicle in floodwaters in Marykirk, Aberdeenshire.

Two women have died following a five-vehicle crash on the M4 on Friday morning, which is believed to be weather-related.

On Friday, a man in his 60s died after being caught in floodwaters in the Shropshire town of Cleobury Mortimer, and on Saturday 83-year-old Maureen Gilbert was found dead after her home was hit by floods in Derbyshire.