the great storm ...
In the early hours of October 16th 1987, winds peaked at more than 120 mph, killing 18 people, damaging buildings and felling 15 million trees in the south-east of England.
During the night I can remember waking and thinking how rough it was sounding outside but I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams what was really going on. I suppose my first inkling that the weather must have been quite bad was we had no power in the morning, this sounds really stupid now, but I remember panicking because I wasn’t going to be able to wash and dry my hair for work! It wasn’t until I was driving in, along the coast road that I was starting to notice there was something really quite different about the journey that day, there was a lot of debris around, fallen trees, leaning traffic light and lamp posts, boats washed up from the shingle onto the road from the beach and when driving through the town my eye being drawn to one of the popular steak houses of the time which had all of its windows blown out, I remember starting to feel a bit preturbed about what I was seeing and arriving at work feeling quite unerved, not being able to quite comprehend what I had seen. I remember during my lunch hour going around to my mum’s house and both of us going out in the car to have a look at some of the storm damage, we saw many unbelievable sights and we realised then how many people's lives had been changed out of the blue by the verocity of the storm. As a family we were fortunate and suffered no damage whatsoever.
One lovely memory from October 1987 was the birth of my lovely niece Laura who will be twenty on the 19th. I asked Stella her mum about the experience and she reminded me of that fact that when she was waiting for the arrival of Laura in Southlands Hospital, the maternity ward had no windows, they had blown out in the storm (in fact the strongest gust of 100 knots was measured at Shoreham on the Sussex coast, which is where the hospital is situated).