Lucky escape as tree destroys garage

Nigel McConnell who's car and garage were badly damaged by the fallen tree.
Nigel McConnell who's car and garage were badly damaged by the fallen tree.

A GALPHAY family had a lucky escape last week when strong winds sent a huge birch tree crashing through their garage roof.

Nigel McConnell was on holiday on France last Monday when gale force winds – the tail end of Hurricane Katia – whipped the area.

Nigel McConnell's damaged 4x4

Nigel McConnell's damaged 4x4

On Monday, September 12, half way through Nigel’s ten day trip with wife Denise, he received a worried phone call from his eighteen year old son Awat, who had stayed in Galphay to look after the home and animals.

Awat had popped out of the house, he said, and returned to find a branch of a huge birch tree had crashed onto the garage housing the family’s VW Touareg 4x4.

“I had only put the car in there before we went away, for safe keeping,” Nigel said.

“The car has survived with a smashed windscreen and holes in the bonnet, and a piece of the garage roof in the wing.”

Awat was shocked but not hurt, Nigel said, so he and Denise finished their holiday before travelling home at the weekend.

The family’s animals had a lucky escape, with one broody chicken staying on her eggs even as the falling tree landed on her hutch and narrowly missed the nest.

Luckiest of all was a 1926 Rolls Royce that Nigel, a saddler and leather worker, was restoring for a customer.

The vintage car had been housed in the garage that was destroyed by the tree until Nigel decided to move it to make way for his own car, just a week before the storm.

“I also had 150 bales of hay delivered for the animals not long ago, which are in the garage getting wet, so we might have lost the hay stock,” he said.