December 8 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, October 12, 2013
The headteacher of a Norwich school, who narrowly escaped death when a metre-wide tree crushed the bonnet of her car, has told how she kissed the vehicle that kept her safe - despite always hating it.
Selene Sawyer was making her daily journey to work at Lionwood Infant and Nursery School, off Telegraph Lane East when the drama unfolded.
The mother-of-three had left her home in Freethorpe, after dropping off her children at school, and was travelling along the Southwood Road, heading towards South Burlingham, at around 7.45am on Wednesday.
Mrs Sawyer, 40, has been head at the school since 2007 and frequently travels that route but had never before encountered any problems.
She said: “It was very blustery that morning but I didn’t realise quite how windy it really was. I saw the tree start to fall but I just could not stop in time - though I must have braked.
“I was just so lucky as the tree landed on the front of my car - I was literally covered by its leaves and branches. If I had gone a little bit further down the road it would have been on top of me.”
A couple from a nearby house - Cucumber Cottage - had heard the tree fall but it was not until Mrs Sawyer managed to get out of her car that they realised it had fallen on top of something.
The tree, described as being a metre-wide, had also fallen as far as their garden wall.
The road had to be shut for more than three hours while a team from the Norfolk Lowland Search and Rescue worked on chopping up the tree in order for the car to be moved.
The couple looked after the shaken Mrs Sawyer until her husband Martin, 49, arrived, and she explained that it was at this moment she “shed a little tear” when she realised her narrow escape.
But ready to brace the weather all over again, the brave headteacher was not put off and returned to work the next day.
“It was not my time, but it was a moment of luck.” she said. “I was relieved my children were not in the car and relieved I had got out. I kissed the car - even though I never liked the colour of it - it kept me safe.
“I was one lucky girl that day.”
And holding on to that lucky feeling Mrs Sawyer has even bought a lottery ticket for tonight’s big draw.
She said: “It all happened in a split second. If it had come down on me I knew - because of the size of the tree - I would not be here.”
Mrs Sawyer thanked the couple from Cucumber Cottage for their help and also the efforts of the search and rescue team
And although Mr and Mrs Sawyer are waiting for the garage to confirm if the car is a write-off they said at the end of the day “it’s just a car” and Mrs Sawyer would “absolutely” be living each day to the full.