1987 storm: Pensioners face ordeal of survival

Here is a look back at the EDP's coverage of the 1987 storm from 22nd October 1987.

Six days without the basics

For the past six days, pensioners Bert and Phyllis Dwyer have been cooking on a camping stove and huddling together at night for warmth.


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When they want water they have to drive over a mile to the nearest village. In the evenings they have to rely on candles to see by.

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Their cottage on the isolated Intwood Hall estate, near Norwich, has been completely cut-off from the outside world as their telephone is out of action.

They are just two of the countless victims still suffering from the effects of the hurricane-force winds which devastated the region.

The storm struck their home at 5.10am on Friday – the time their electric clock stopped.

Since they have been without the basic amenities of 20th century life the rest of us take for granted.

But yesterday, the couple were in a grimly defiant mood, refusing to let their problems grind them down.

'It has been pretty hectic but we have managed, we have survived. Mind you, if we'd had a sharp frost we would have been done for,' said 74-year-old Bert.

Their difficulties began when the winds set one of the trees on the wooded estate crashing down through the power lines.

It left them and the five other homes on the estate without heat, light or water – the electric pump which provides their supply having been knocked out of action.

'This is worse than the war. At least we were ready for that. We go to bed as soon as it gets dark, there's nothing else you can do, you can't read or watch television. It makes you wonder what people did all the time before electricity,' said Bert.

His wife added: 'I have just managed to cook some fish on the gas stove and I have some cold apple tarts left. We can't get any more gas bottles because everywhere has sold out.'

They were hoping that by the end of today their misery would be over and their power supplies restored. Electricity engineers had yesterday begun the repair work.

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