Dozens shelter in hall from bomb risk

FAMILIES, pensioners and teenagers took shelter behind the walls of a sports centre last night as a major operation got underway to secure an unexploded bomb near their homes.

Danielle Nuttall

FAMILIES, pensioners and teenagers took shelter behind the walls of a sports centre last night as a major operation got underway to secure an unexploded bomb near their homes.

About a dozen residents sought overnight accommodation at Brackenbury Sports Centre in High Road East, Felixstowe, after being evacuated from their homes shortly after 5pm.

Among the first to arrive were Michelle and Charlie Brookfield and their three sons, who had been advised to leave their Holland Road home for safety reasons.

The couple have only recently moved to the seaside town from Sheffield and had no family in the area to seek refuge.

Mrs Brookfield said: “We live near the edge of the exclusion zone but I would rather be here than there.

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“Our family live a long way away. We moved down for my husband's work.

“We will cope. My husband has to be up for work early and he's a bit worried about getting his sleep. But the children seem to be entertaining themselves for now.

“Adults are able to make decisions for themselves but with children you have to make the decision for them. You cannot risk children's lives.

“For peace of mind it's worth doing. We're trying to keep ourselves entertained.”

Suffolk Coastal District Council provided more than 100 sleeping bags, blankets, wash kits and inflatable mattresses to those who took shelter at the sports centre last night.

Residents were treated to a fish and chip supper and were handed hot and cold drinks throughout the evening by the Women's Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS).

A local Indian restaurant also offered to supply free meals for those affected until 10pm.

Louise White, 19, was among a group of teenagers evacuated from St Matthews Housing in Orford Road.

“Because we are a charity organisation, people from the bomb squad came to our house - we were a priority because we're considered vulnerable people,” she said.

“They gave us a few hours to see if we could find alternative accommodation. Obviously we're here because we couldn't find other accommodation.

“We arrived here at 4pm. We played basketball and went for walks outside. We had a fish and chip supper provided.

“Staff have been very helpful, offering drinks to us. Hopefully we'll be able to get back to our homes soon.”

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