WITH SUSSEX among the worst affected by the Great Storm of 1987, we asked Argus readers for their memories and pictures from that fateful night which caused chaos around the country.

34 years ago today, people across Sussex woke up to devastation after a freak hurricane travelled up the English Channel and battered the country overnight.

Peacehaven caravan park was obliterated by the storm with winds reaching up to 103 mph. One lady who lived there said people were looting the next day. While Wakehurst Place saw 25,000 trees uprooted.

BBC weather presenter, Michael Fish, famously said there was no hurricane on the way live on air.

He said: “Earlier on today, apparently a lady rang the BBC and said she heard that there was a hurricane on the way.

“Well, don't worry if you're watching, there isn't.”

The Argus: Dave Jones' picture near the Pavilion Gardens.Dave Jones' picture near the Pavilion Gardens.

Here are some of The Argus reader’s memories of that night.

Mark Oakley said his room was in the attic and he ended up with a chimney on the end of his bed.

He said: “I lived in Park Crescent Terrace. The chimney ended up on the end of my bed.”

Mark said his dad worked as a builder, and while he was at college at the time, Mark ended up helping repair roofs for “the next two weeks”.

Philip Schooley said he remembers his mum shouting for him to help his dad and brother outside during the storm.

He said: “I ran outside into the back garden where I saw my brother going up and down into the air holding onto the plastic and aluminium garage my dad bought.”

The garage, which Phillip said took 2,500 nuts and bolts to put together, was only finished that day.

The Argus: Carn Court near Queens Park. Picture by Simon Dack.Carn Court near Queens Park. Picture by Simon Dack.

He added: “I ran over as my dad was shouting at my brother to let it go while holding onto him. As I reached my brother I grabbed his legs, as it shot up in the air even my feet came off the floor.

“We fell on the driveway and watched it shoot back into the air, spin for a while. Then it snapped and went higher and ripped, sending pieces flying everywhere.

“For days and weeks we found pieces everywhere, even stuck in trees and some miles away from the house. He bought a concrete one after that.”

While Karen Voak remembers the impact in the centre of Brighton.

She said: “I remember going down to the level and the trees were gone and all could see was St Peters church really clearly.”

The Argus: This picture was run as the front page of the Evening Argus. This picture was run as the front page of the Evening Argus.

Julie Carden said she was awake all night and remembers how “devastating” it was.

She said: “Our windows blew in, the garage wall fell down, tarmac ripped off driveways, bus stops flattened and roof tiles flying around like confetti.

“I really remember the noises, going out at daylight to utter devastation. Then visiting Hove park and trees were all flattened.”

Some of the impacts of the storm can be seen in England’s woodland today, with some felled trees being left to be taken over by nature.

The insurance bill was £1.8 billion, the most expensive UK weather event in the history of the insurance industry.

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