1987 Storm: ‘It was like we’d been bombed’

Here is a look back at the Lowestoft Journal's coverage of the 1987 storm

Classroom block demolished as gales hit school

The trail of havoc left by the storm in the Lowestoft area included caravans overturned and smashed, homes wrecked and hundreds of trees torn up by the roots.

A classroom block at Kirkley High School was completely demolished, and throughout the town and surrounding area there were reports of chimneys down, windows blown out and cascades of tiles ripped off.

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Emergency services were kept at full stretch dealing with a host of incidents, although police had no reports of serious injury.

'It's absolute bedlam,' said police public relations spokesman Bob Bell.

At the North Denes caravan site Waveney amenities officer Brain Soloman said some caravans had been reduced to matchwood, being toppled over and blown into one another.

He said some 50 caravans had been damaged some of them being 'absolutely demolished'.

Site manager Jim Grieve said people who had been staying in caravans preparing for the closure of the site this weekend had been evacuated to the nearby Denes Oval sports pavilion as their holiday homes were wrecked by the gale.

Sixth-formers turned up to help shift furniture and equipment from the outside classroom which was blown apart by the wind at Kirkley High School.

Deputy Head Mrs Hazel Johnson said the school had also suffered broken windows and roof damage.

Eastern Electricity staff backed up by men from the north of England and Scotland worked from first light all over the weekend.

By Monday the high voltage lines were back and work started on putting the hamlets south of Lowestoft back on the system.

Kessingland, Southwold, Wrentham and Reydon were without power for most of Friday.

Waveney District Council drafted in 300 workmen to deal with 1000 damaged council houses and buildings and scores of trees blocking roads.

Dustmen were among those switched from their normal jobs and it would take around a week for them to catch up with the backlog, said district technical officer Mr Oakes.

He estimates the council's overtime and damage bills will run into thousand of pounds.

Mr Oakes will be asking Suffolk County Council for extra cash to cover the road clearing and the council's insurers will be receiving a large claim as well.