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Remembering the night a hurricane battered Bexley

PUBLISHED: 15:33 15 October 2012

Lessness Heath Primary School was decimated. Photo from Bexley Local Studies and Archive Centre

Lessness Heath Primary School was decimated. Photo from Bexley Local Studies and Archive Centre

Bexley Local Studies and Archive Centre

Twenty five years on the people of Bexley remember the night a hurricane ripped the heart out of the borough.

New Road, Abbey Wood, in the aftermath of the storm. Photo by Bexley Local Studies and Archive CentreNew Road, Abbey Wood, in the aftermath of the storm. Photo by Bexley Local Studies and Archive Centre

Famously disregarded by TV weatherman Michael Fish, the hurricane, caused by an unusually strong weather system across the south, uprooted 15 million trees, wrecked homes and killed 18 people across the country. It also caused devastation in northern France.

Few slept through the hammering winds with many witnessing debris flying through the air that included garden sheds and road signs.

‘Bertram P’, from Bexley, remembered on Streetlife.com: “My wife and I were staying in the Burstin Hotel in Folkestone on the seventh floor and watched the storm and harbour until about 6am or 7am.

“It was terrible. Sparks and lamp standards coming down. We left there about 1pm the next day and made our way home. The roads had trees across them as far as you could see. There were hundreds of trees down and caravans smashed. We never saw another car on the road for most of the way home to Bexley.”

Woolwich Road, BelvedereWoolwich Road, Belvedere

The clean-up process saw the community pull together and a Thousand Tree Appeal run jointly by The Kentish Times and the council achieved double that – raising £27,000 to plant 2,000 trees.

Though most will never mature during the lives of those who planted them, the people of Bexley ensured future generations would enjoy the fruits of their labour.

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