Swanmore school flees home after 300-year-old tree falls on roof

A tree fell on the Paterson Centre in Swanmore and damaged the roof'' Picture: Kimberley Barber
A tree fell on the Paterson Centre in Swanmore and damaged the roof'' Picture: Kimberley Barber
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A NURSERY manager has described the moment a 300-year-old oak fell on top of her building.

The tree fell on the Paterson Centre in Church Road, Swanmore.

It meant The Greenery Nursery had to move from its base of 23 years over safety fears.

Its children have since moved into Swanmore Village Hall in New Road while repairs take place.

Nursery manager Hannah Wallace was in the building at the time with colleagues when they heard the tree hit at 8.30am on June 20.

She said: ‘It was a really loud crash as we heard the tree hit the roof.

‘I heard myself shouting for people to get out as we had no idea what it was when it first happened.

‘We were very lucky that it fell on another part of the centre when we were in there.

‘One of the rooms is in such a state that you can’t go in there. Branches were coming through the roof.’

The nursery school, which also includes a pre-nursery, is a pop-up, meaning that all the equipment used for lessons is brought in on the morning and set up before being packed away so the centre can be used by other organisations.

Ms Wallace said that the top half of the tree, which had branches in the building, was removed last week but that the nursery is still waiting to hear on when the bottom half of the tree is to be removed.

She said: ‘We are still waiting to find out when we can potentially move back in.

‘We were hoping to move in by the end of the week but it doesn’t look like it’s going to be that way.

Due to safety concerns about the centre and the adjacent Church of St Barnabas, the site is closed to the public.

The church is hoping to reopen this weekend, as is Barnaby’s, the community coffee shop in the building.