Children in lucky escape as cars are smashed in ‘tornado’ terror

The Welkin, Lindfield, West Sussex, RH16 2PL
The Welkin, Lindfield, West Sussex, RH16 2PL

Four children had a lucky escape when a gust of wind - described as a mini tornado - brought down a conifer tree close to where they were sleeping.

The youngsters were enjoying a sleepover at a house in The Welkin in Lindfield when the conifer crashed down in the front driveway just after 11pm.

The Welkin, Lindfield, West Sussex, RH16 2PL

The Welkin, Lindfield, West Sussex, RH16 2PL

Mum Janes Collins said: “We were all quite shaken. It was a big crash and the top of the tree landed some distance from the rest of it, like it had been snapped off and carried by the wind.

“It must have been a mini tornado or something.”

The near-miss wrote-off two cars which were parked in the road and scattered branches and debris far and wide.

Mrs Collins’ daughters Phoebe, 14, and Hattie, 11, were upstairs with friends Mel Collins, 14, and 10-year-old Ruth, when the storm hit on Friday night.

Dale Avenue, Hassocks

Dale Avenue, Hassocks

Mrs Collins’ Vauxhall Agila was written off as was a car parked outside neighbour Sarah Beeston’s home.

Sarah said: “It was a loud bang. If it had come down at a different angle it could certainly have hit the houses. It could have been very much worse.”

Reader Tony Sullivan also sent in this picture of Dale Avenue, Hassocks, nearer to the junction with Lodge Lane, which flooded during the school run on Friday, causing a lot of confusion.

Tony said the stream at the top of Dale Avenue/Lodge Lane had so much rainwater flowing that the stream and drains in the road were unable to cope.

The fire brigade were called and it is thought one of the houses on the corner of Dale Avenue and Lodge suffered a flooded basement.

Another reader, E Grant, sent in a picture of a bus ploughing through flood water in Appledore Gardens, Haywards Heath as well.

Pictures of The Welkin by freelance photographer Eddie Howland