The day the Great Storm hit Mid Sussex

Thirty-one years ago to the day the Great Storm battered Mid Sussex, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

West Sussex bore the brunt of the storm and the countrywide cost of the clear-up was £1billion and an estimated 15 million trees were lost.

The Great Storm 1987 - The Cricketers, Burgess Hill SUS-181010-145209001

The Great Storm 1987 - The Cricketers, Burgess Hill SUS-181010-145209001

In Ditchling, St Margaret’s Church had a lucky escape when two massive pine trees were uprooted from the churchyard and crashed down on the roof of the porch.

A pregnant woman in Ardingly, who could not get to hospital due to fallen trees, gave birth at home with the help of a local midwife.

Another mum-to-be needed stitches after she was left with cuts to her legs when a 70ft fir tree glanced off the side of her home, shattering a bedroom window and showering her with glass.

Mandy Taylor, who was five days overdue, joked at the time: “If that won’t budge it, nothing will!”

Her 7lb 9oz daughter arrived a few days later when all the fuss had died down.

At Handcross Park School, 150 trees fell foul of the storm and it took the efforts of 100 staff, children and parents to tidy things up.

Community spirit was present in abundance as people picked up the somewhat windblown pieces of each other’s lives, clearing debris and offering a helping hand where needed.

With thousands of homes left without water, Dolphin Leisure Centre did the neighbourly thing and invited people to use its showers.

Naturally, the aftermath was not a quick fix.

Over at Summerlands home for the elderly, in Haywards Heath, the residents were still without electricity 10 days later.

Staff made sure they stayed warm and healthy with bundles of blankets and many a cup of hot tea.