Lindfield after Great Storm of 1987

By Claire Cooper

25 years ago, on the morning of 16th October 1987, Lindfield residents woke to scenes of devastation and destruction after a hurricane swept through the village overnight.

The events of the night which changed the face of Sussex are still fresh in the minds of those who woke to find trees felled, windows smashed, roofs destroyed, chimneys crumbling and cars crushed. 

Many Sussex villages were cut off, homes lost power, children enjoyed an unexpected holiday as schools were closed and there was excitement in Haywards Heath when army helicopters were drafted in to dispatch troops to help clear the railway lines.

Keen photographer and Preservation Society member Geoffrey Calderwood captured some of the dramatic scenes in Lindfield and produced a set of commemorative postcards, kindly loaned to Lindfield Life by resident Hilary Jackson. The postcards were sold to raise money for the village tree fund.

Hilary, from Sunte Avenue, remembers the storm well, as tiles were stripped from the roof next door and a large tree came crashing down into her garden.

“I’d been out late the night before helping the young lady next door to secure the fencing as the winds were picking up,” said Hilary. “But nothing could have prepared me for what I saw when I pulled back the curtains the following morning.”

For Hilary’s three children, the storm brought an unexpected bonus – “we cut up the fallen tree and built a tree house in the garden,” said Hilary. “It was a lasting legacy of the hurricane which brought years of pleasure to my children and their friends!”

Read the full story on p.20 of October's magazine...