Ripon man survives typhoon

In addition to the human casualties the typhoon has left buildings in the country devastated.
In addition to the human casualties the typhoon has left buildings in the country devastated.
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A Ripon mother has spoken of her relief after her son escaped relatively unharmed during the Philippines typhoon disaster.

Lesley Spence, who works as a cook at the Yorkshire Tea Rooms on Kirkgate in the city, had an anxious wait for news about her son, Luke, who arrived in the country only this month to take up a job as a scuba diving instructor.

“He’s a bit battered and bruised but he’s more concerned about the locals,” said Lesley, who said her son received injuries to his arm and knee.

Luke left the UK and his job as an IT manager to pursue his new career venture, arriving in the country on November 3 – just five days before the typhoon struck on Friday.

Lesley said she was a “complete wreck” between hearing about the typhoon on the news and finally receiving contact from her son, who was on Malapascua Island.

“It was such a relief when I heard from him. He texted me on Sunday saying ‘I’m alive’.”

She said Luke had a “lucky escape” after been advised to seek shelter in a building which collapsed before he got there. Despite the disaster, Lesley said her son intends to stay in the Philippines as the nation recovers.

The turmoil in South East Asia has prompted swift action in our district to help with rescue and recovery efforts.

Street collections for the disaster appeal fund will be able to take place throughout the district after they were authorised by Coun Stuart Martin (Ripon Minster), Harrogate Borough Council’s licensing committee chairman.

Coun Martin said he was approached by Rotary groups in the district to see if the usual suspension of street collections between Remembrance Sunday and the run-up to Christmas could be lifted to raise money for the disaster appeal.

“I just hope people actually turn out now and fill the buckets for Rotary because what they are doing is amazing,” said Coun Martin.

Rotary clubs across the Harrogate district have been authorised to collect on two Saturdays – November 16 and November 23 – and on market day in Ripon on Thursday, November 21, and market day in Knaresborough on Wednesday, November 20.