December 13 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 16, 2013
One of the women who escaped almost unscathed when a tree smashed into a car on a remote Norfolk road has told how it could have been “so much worse”.
Close friends Heather Hasthorpe and Helen Howes were heading to Wolterton Costume and Textiles Fair on Saturday morning to exhibit their textiles when the ash tree fell on the roof of the VW Passat estate that they were in.
The aftermath of the incident, which saw a large bough rip through the windscreen and the roof of the vehicle flattened, was hailed as “miraculous” by Tim Elwes, owner of the nearby Saracen’s Head pub.
And, writing on her Facebook page, Mrs Hasthorpe agreed, saying: “I was so lucky to escape with just a covering of glass shards.
“My friend was not quite so lucky, but after a day in A&E was sent home with a mended ripped tendon in her hand. The branch on the right crushed the steering wheel that she was holding and the one on the left shot down inside the car and tore off the inside door panel and bruised her leg but it could have been so much worse.”
Mrs Howes, who shares a workshop with Mrs Hasthorpe at Raveningham, was yesterday felling too unwell to speak about the incident.
But her husband, John Stormes, said she had damaged a tendon in her arm, which was now in plaster, and had bruised her leg and hand.
He said: “It was quite miraculous given the fact that that the branch came right through the windscreen and broke the steering wheel.
“It’s a bit ironic because a lot of what Helen does is based around trees so for one to fall on her is strange. Incredibly, her friend was completely unscathed.”
The ash tree, which wrote off the car, fell at 8.45am on Saturday after a prolonged period of rain and strong winds.
Mr Elwes said: “We were preparing breakfast for clients staying at the hotel. I was in the kitchen. I took something out to the dining room and a lady said ‘can you call 999’?
“I could see that the tree had fallen and the lady said it had hit a car. I saw the car and was on the phone immediately.”
He added: “The ambulance was here very quickly, closely followed by the police. It was extraordinary. All of the roots of the tree have come up - and it’s a big tree. It fell literally as they were driving past.”
The two ladies were able to walk free from the car and were taken into the pub to be cared for. Mr Elwes said: “They are so incredibly lucky: it’s miraculous that nothing more serious happened.”
The tree was on the Wolterton Hall estate owned by Lord and Lady Walpole. Estate staff were soon on scene with chainsaws and ropes to cut up and remove it.