1987 storm: “it was like a scene from a dusty old John Wayne movie” - Derek James

Evening News reporter Derek James wrote about his memories of the October 1987 storm on its fifth anniversary in 1992. Here is what he wrote.

'Five years ago we went to bed and the wind got up – and it blew and it blew and it blew....

'A horrible hurricane swept across the country causing over a dozen deaths, numerous injuries, destruction and chaos.

'Yes, it really is five years since those ferocious gales attacked us – it was a night to remember.

'In Norfolk a driver was among those killed and others were hurt as thousands of tumbling trees hit cars and lorries, blocked roads, shattered homes and snapped power lines.


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'I'll never forget staggering to work early on Friday, October 16, 1987 – it was like a scene from a dusty old John Wayne movie as shop shutters crashed and bushes rolled around in the wind.

'And it was the night the trees died. Famous landmarks like the willow on the corner of Foundry Bridge and the beautiful copper beech in Cathedral Close gone forever.

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'Hundreds of homes were damaged causing heartache as roofs were ripped off, walls were flattened and trees came crashing into them.

'Many old people were trapped in their houses without light or heat – worried sick about what was happening.

'And blow me down – even the Evening News Conker Championships were called off. Falling debris in Chapelfield Gardens made the place far too dangerous!

'Bruised and battered, Norfolk was licking its wounds but over the years they seem to have healed remarkably well – thanks to a lot of hard work and some massive tree replanting programmes.'

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