‘I’m lucky to be alive’ says Leigh Park grandmother whose house was hit by tree

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Leigh Park grandmother Mary Wallsays she feels lucky to be alive after an enormous tree came crashing down into her house.

The 76-year-old had decided to stay with her daughter during the storms early yesterday and it wasn’t until she arrived home at 8.30am she discovered what happened.

Two large trees fell across the gardens of houses in Catherington Way in Leigh Park in high winds during the storm which swept through the south. (left to right), neighbour Beki Hansler, Janette Sherrell, and her mum Mary Wall, whose home took the brunt of the fall.'''Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (132963-2)

Two large trees fell across the gardens of houses in Catherington Way in Leigh Park in high winds during the storm which swept through the south. (left to right), neighbour Beki Hansler, Janette Sherrell, and her mum Mary Wall, whose home took the brunt of the fall.'''Picture: Ian Hargreaves (132963-2)

She said: ‘My daughter feared the storm would frighten me so she insisted I stayed with her.

‘When we got back home we were met with the huge tree which had smothered the house.

‘The house was black, there was no daylight coming in. It was a horrendous sight.

‘I realised quite how lucky I was because I sleep in the back bedroom. I was shocked.’

No windows were broken but Mrs Wall won’t been able to check for any further damage to her home in Catherington Way until the tree is cut away.

Her daughter Janette Sherrell, of Ernest Road, Bedhampton, said: ‘We lost my dad Kenneth in March and I think he was definitely looking out for mum last night.’

The tree also landed on the scaffolding of neighbour Becki Hansler’s half-built extension.

Mrs Hansler said: ‘I was woken up at about 4am by a bang and a whooshing sound. At the time I thought it was just a brick from the extension.

‘When we got up the next day I looked out and said to my husband, “I think you’d better come and look at this”.

‘I’m just so pleased Mary wasn’t there at the time.’

Havant Borough Council worked through the day to clear trees blown over across the borough. Thirty Hayling Island beach huts suffered minor damage.

The old A3 route along The Causeway at Petersfield was blocked until 7am by falling branches.

In Portsmouth Milton Park had to be closed because so many trees were damaged.

The University of Portsmouth was also closed to students until midday yesterday while safety checks were made on campus.

Scaffolding was inspected at Park Building and it was closed of all day because of high winds.

It was expected to reopen at 8am today.

Strong winds caused a huge tree to come crashing down on Tangier Road, Copnor.

Police were called at 2am on Monday after someone spotted one it blocking the street. The road was reopened at 6.45am.

Meanwhile the weather caused disruption to rubbish and recycling collections in Waterlooville and Hayling Island.

Workers were not sent out until it was deemed safe for them to work, which meant collections were delayed by a few hours.

Any bins that weren’t picked up will be collected later in the week.

Laura Young, a spokeswoman from the Met Office, said the terrible weather was just as predicted.

She said: ‘We were predicting wind speeds of between 60mph and 80mph, and 80mph plus in exposed coastal areas.

‘On the Isle of Wight winds of 99mph were recorded while in the Solent area the average wind speed was 54mph but there was a gust at 6am on Monday of 75mph.’