You call that a storm..?

Two pine tress in the churchyard at St Margaret's Church, Ditchling, were uprooted during the Great Storm of 1987
Two pine tress in the churchyard at St Margaret's Church, Ditchling, were uprooted during the Great Storm of 1987

You have to feel sorry for Storm Doris.

As well as having a somewhat amusing name, she was always doomed to gust along in the shadow of a much more impressive storm which gave the country a proper battering 30 years ago.
These pictures were published in the Mid Sussex Times following the Great Storm of 1987 – a storm so great it didn’t need a proper name. And a good job, too. Imagine how silly the UK would have looked if the world was told it had been pummelled to a standstill by Storm Ethel.
West Sussex certainly bore the brunt of the storm, with the heaviest gust of wind – a terrifying 115mph – being recorded in Shoreham-by-Sea. The countrywide cost of the clear-up was £1billion and an estimated 15 million trees were lost.
In Ditchling, St Margaret’s Church had a lucky escape when two massive pine trees were uprooted from the churchyard and crashed down on the roof of the porch.
A pregnant woman in Ardingly, who could not get to hospital due to fallen trees, gave birth at home with the help of a local midwife.
Another mum-to-be needed stitches after she was left with cuts to her legs when a 70ft fir tree glanced off the side of her home, shattering a bedroom window and showering her with glass.
Mandy Taylor, who was five days overdue, joked at the time: “If that won’t budge it, nothing will!”
Her 7lb 9oz daughter arrived a few days later when all the fuss had died down – sensible lass!
At Handcross Park School, 150 trees fell foul of the storm and it took the efforts of 100 staff, children and parents to tidy things up.
Community spirit was present in abundance as people picked up the somewhat windblown pieces of each other’s lives, clearing debris and offering a helping hand where needed.
With thousands of homes left without water, Dolphin Leisure Centre did the neighbourly thing and invited people to use its showers.
Naturally, the aftermath was not a quick fix.
Over at Summerlands home for the elderly, in Haywards Heath, the residents were still without electricity 10 days later. Staff made sure they stayed warm and healthy with bundles of blankets and many a cup of hot tea.

Cleaning up at Handcross Park School after the storm of 1987

Cleaning up at Handcross Park School after the storm of 1987

Adam and Frances Phelps clearing up their garden in Haywards Heath after the Great Storm of 1987

Adam and Frances Phelps clearing up their garden in Haywards Heath after the Great Storm of 1987

Tony Hughes' garage, in Marlborough Drive, was destroyed in the Great Storm of 1987

Tony Hughes' garage, in Marlborough Drive, was destroyed in the Great Storm of 1987

Elizabeth Dunford, Hilda Spencer and Rosalind Vaizey were well wrapped up against the cold after Summerlands home for the elderly was left without electricity for 10 days after the Great Storm of 1987

Elizabeth Dunford, Hilda Spencer and Rosalind Vaizey were well wrapped up against the cold after Summerlands home for the elderly was left without electricity for 10 days after the Great Storm of 1987

John and Mandy Taylor with daughter Lucy outside their storm-damaged home in 1987

John and Mandy Taylor with daughter Lucy outside their storm-damaged home in 1987