Great Storm of 87 remembered

First published in News

The Great Storm of 1987 battered Sussex and left four dead and hundreds homeless.

Tuesday marks the 25th anniversary of the disaster and The Argus is producing a special supplement.

Argus photographers were first on the scene and the devastating images they captured were published around the world.

As well as featuring some of the iconic images of the day, the supplement will include your memories of the storm.

Milkman Mal Standing describes how trees were falling all around as he and his colleagues delivered the morning’s rounds, while new mum Jill Davies recalls holding her daughter tight on the 13th floor maternity unit of Royal Sussex County Hospital.

For this, and more, don’t forget to pick up Tuesday’s Argus.

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8:58am Sun 14 Oct 12

Poccypoc says...

I was in PR for BT in Crawley. In those days, we did nights. These are my highlights of that night:

- The three newest staff happened to be on that night. Our shift was meant to be 8pm - 8am
- The evening had started dramatically, as we heard our boss in the PR section, Cythia, collapsed and died at home that day
- When the wind started picking up, the office door kept opening by itself and slamming shut!
- Later, we found out we took 700 calls in six hours, many from journalists or other opinion formers. -
- Even some members of the public got through to us!
- We were SO busy, the only way our boss could get through to us was by dialling 999!
- Although we knew the weather was bad, from people were telling us, we couldn't really tell because most of our windows were blacked out for security purposes
- None of us had any breaks that night once the storm took hold
- The first day staff were due in about 7.30, but thankjs to some hardy souls, a few arrived in earlier - one woman had walked across Crawley, saying it was like a war zone!
- I left the office at 8, assumiong I could get a train back to Hove, but having walking the 1.5 miles to Three Bridges station, there, of course, NO trains, and I walked about to work. There were trees down everywhere. Naturally the worst-hit road in Crawley was called GALES Drive!
- As the day staff were now in place, I offered to man the front gate as the gatekeeper hadn't turned up!
- At one point, Radio Mercury was the only radio station we could get, and dear John Wellington was doing what he could giving out news and travel.
- At around 1pm, I'd been on shift for 17 hours, the gatekeeper arrived, so I decided to walk to my dad's house, about three miles away
- I got there mid-afternoon and waited for my dad to get in from work as he'd offered to drive me down to Hove, 20-odd miles away
- I guess we left at 5.30pm. It took us around 90 minutes to get from Crawley to Hove. By then, it was raining very heavily
- We got to my place about 7, where we met up with my sister, who lived in nearby Brighton, and my mum, who lived in Hove. They had even more stories of walking across Brighton and Hove, including saying lots of trees had come down on The Level, which, was now level!

What a night and day that was?!
I was in PR for BT in Crawley. In those days, we did nights. These are my highlights of that night: - The three newest staff happened to be on that night. Our shift was meant to be 8pm - 8am - The evening had started dramatically, as we heard our boss in the PR section, Cythia, collapsed and died at home that day - When the wind started picking up, the office door kept opening by itself and slamming shut! - Later, we found out we took 700 calls in six hours, many from journalists or other opinion formers. - - Even some members of the public got through to us! - We were SO busy, the only way our boss could get through to us was by dialling 999! - Although we knew the weather was bad, from people were telling us, we couldn't really tell because most of our windows were blacked out for security purposes - None of us had any breaks that night once the storm took hold - The first day staff were due in about 7.30, but thankjs to some hardy souls, a few arrived in earlier - one woman had walked across Crawley, saying it was like a war zone! - I left the office at 8, assumiong I could get a train back to Hove, but having walking the 1.5 miles to Three Bridges station, there, of course, NO trains, and I walked about to work. There were trees down everywhere. Naturally the worst-hit road in Crawley was called GALES Drive! - As the day staff were now in place, I offered to man the front gate as the gatekeeper hadn't turned up! - At one point, Radio Mercury was the only radio station we could get, and dear John Wellington was doing what he could giving out news and travel. - At around 1pm, I'd been on shift for 17 hours, the gatekeeper arrived, so I decided to walk to my dad's house, about three miles away - I got there mid-afternoon and waited for my dad to get in from work as he'd offered to drive me down to Hove, 20-odd miles away - I guess we left at 5.30pm. It took us around 90 minutes to get from Crawley to Hove. By then, it was raining very heavily - We got to my place about 7, where we met up with my sister, who lived in nearby Brighton, and my mum, who lived in Hove. They had even more stories of walking across Brighton and Hove, including saying lots of trees had come down on The Level, which, was now level! What a night and day that was?! Poccypoc
  • Score: 0

9:06am Sun 14 Oct 12

John Steed says...

on the early morning of the storm it hit eastern holland just as my shift steel erecting started. working at a height of 40 mtrs was impossible, i argued for nearly two hours that my men could not work and eventually some bright spark realised the wind speeds exceeded crane operating safety limits and officially halted all work for the shift.
on the early morning of the storm it hit eastern holland just as my shift steel erecting started. working at a height of 40 mtrs was impossible, i argued for nearly two hours that my men could not work and eventually some bright spark realised the wind speeds exceeded crane operating safety limits and officially halted all work for the shift. John Steed
  • Score: 0

9:15am Sun 14 Oct 12

alyn, southwick says...

I was living in Scotland at the time - I think you southerners are soft, there was nowt but a strong breeze!
I was living in Scotland at the time - I think you southerners are soft, there was nowt but a strong breeze! alyn, southwick
  • Score: 0

10:07am Sun 14 Oct 12

sbiscorrupt says...

Lets hope the BBC commemorate the event by asking Michael Fish to do the Tuesday weather forecast!
Lets hope the BBC commemorate the event by asking Michael Fish to do the Tuesday weather forecast! sbiscorrupt
  • Score: 0

10:45am Sun 14 Oct 12

hubby says...

I was getting home to Saltdean after a night in Brighton.Must have been about 3am.I remember seeing trees flying across Saltdean Vale.Got in went to sleep and slept right through it.
I was getting home to Saltdean after a night in Brighton.Must have been about 3am.I remember seeing trees flying across Saltdean Vale.Got in went to sleep and slept right through it. hubby
  • Score: 0

12:38pm Sun 14 Oct 12

BertsMum says...

I was at home in Shoreham with a very poorly baby and 4 yo daughter. Husband was away on business and I specifically remember moving us all away from the windward side of the house as I was scared something would crash through the windows! Our garage roof was ripped off, my Mini Metro was trashed and all the garden fences vanished, never to be seen again! When I made a panicky phone call to my husband, who if I remember correctly was in Liverpool, he didn't believe how bad it was - until he got to is hotel room and turned on the telly! Sadly, the manky old lean-to on the back of our property, which I would have dearly loved the insurance company to pay out for, remained stoically in place! Typical! We had a beautiful Yew tree in our front garden which was completely uprooted - our GP lent us his chain saw so that we could chop it up! Seems like yesterday, not 25 years ago!
I was at home in Shoreham with a very poorly baby and 4 yo daughter. Husband was away on business and I specifically remember moving us all away from the windward side of the house as I was scared something would crash through the windows! Our garage roof was ripped off, my Mini Metro was trashed and all the garden fences vanished, never to be seen again! When I made a panicky phone call to my husband, who if I remember correctly was in Liverpool, he didn't believe how bad it was - until he got to is hotel room and turned on the telly! Sadly, the manky old lean-to on the back of our property, which I would have dearly loved the insurance company to pay out for, remained stoically in place! Typical! We had a beautiful Yew tree in our front garden which was completely uprooted - our GP lent us his chain saw so that we could chop it up! Seems like yesterday, not 25 years ago! BertsMum
  • Score: 0

12:40pm Sun 14 Oct 12

BertsMum says...

sbiscorrupt wrote:
Lets hope the BBC commemorate the event by asking Michael Fish to do the Tuesday weather forecast!
He has never lived it down!
[quote][p][bold]sbiscorrupt[/bold] wrote: Lets hope the BBC commemorate the event by asking Michael Fish to do the Tuesday weather forecast![/p][/quote]He has never lived it down! BertsMum
  • Score: 0

5:25pm Sun 14 Oct 12

Poccypoc says...

"John Ketley is a weatherman, John Ketley is a weatherman, John Ketley is a weatherman and so is Michael Fish."

Great song by Tribe of Toffs.
"John Ketley is a weatherman, John Ketley is a weatherman, John Ketley is a weatherman and so is Michael Fish." Great song by Tribe of Toffs. Poccypoc
  • Score: 0

8:39pm Sun 14 Oct 12

Sussex jim says...

I know, because I was there, and got the T-shirt * We were without power for 3 days in Uckfield; I was working for BT at the time; and we had serious issues with small rural exchanges like Chelwood Gate and Framfield failing because the batteries were running down and they had no standby generators. One was parked outside at CG and promptly stolen; no use to the pi**** who nicked it, as it only produced 50 volts.
Seeboard were great; they started reconnecting people on that Friday morning before the storm had finished; but I have to say that Bt only really got into gear the following Monday.
* Yes, I still have the T-shirt issued by BT to commerorate the event, never worn XL, offers?
I know, because I was there, and got the T-shirt * We were without power for 3 days in Uckfield; I was working for BT at the time; and we had serious issues with small rural exchanges like Chelwood Gate and Framfield failing because the batteries were running down and they had no standby generators. One was parked outside at CG and promptly stolen; no use to the pi**** who nicked it, as it only produced 50 volts. Seeboard were great; they started reconnecting people on that Friday morning before the storm had finished; but I have to say that Bt only really got into gear the following Monday. * Yes, I still have the T-shirt issued by BT to commerorate the event, never worn XL, offers? Sussex jim
  • Score: 0

10:12pm Sun 14 Oct 12

Maxwell's Ghost says...

I was on a Virgin Atlantic flight which tried to land at LHR.
It was fortunate that I had enjoyed the free bar early into the flight and was unconscious as apparently it took a skilled pilot to land.
I was woken by applause in the cabin.
I was on a Virgin Atlantic flight which tried to land at LHR. It was fortunate that I had enjoyed the free bar early into the flight and was unconscious as apparently it took a skilled pilot to land. I was woken by applause in the cabin. Maxwell's Ghost
  • Score: 0

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