Tornado hits quiet Suffolk village

A TORNADO left a trail of devastation as it tore through a quiet Suffolk village.

FRIENDS and neighbours pulled together in a show of community spirit yesterday as they began to pick up the pieces after a tornado left a trail of devastation when it tore through their beloved village.

The clear-up operation got under way in Great Livermere, near Bury St Edmunds, after the tornado left a trail of damage in its wake leaving stunned residents in the normally peaceful village to count the cost of numerous stripped roofs and shattered windows.

Terrified villagers ran for cover as the twister tore off roofs as it swept through Great Livermere, north of Bury St Edmunds.

Joyce Still scrambled to hide in her hall to escape flying glass after the tornado blew her kitchen window out when it hit around 5pm on Monday.

“It was like a bomb had gone off,” she said. “It was really terrifying.

“My heart was pounding because I didn’t know what was going on.”

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Gwen and Bill Dean, who live opposite the green, were just sitting down for a cup of tea when they heard the gushing wind building in the distance.

“It was horrendous,” said Mr Dean, 69. “We were scared for our lives. We heard the wind building to this crescendo – then there was devastation everywhere.”

Neighbours a few metres further down The Street were unaffected by the violent force, which took less than 20 seconds to wreak havoc in the quiet corner of the village.

An historic forge at the heart of the village was partly demolished when the spiralling winds hit, reducing it to a pile of rubble.

Blacksmith Brian Hardman, 57, had lit the furnace in the forge and gone to get a cup of tea in his cottage nearby when the twister struck, knocking down half the building.

The historic forge, which dates back to at least 1772, was pulled apart by the twister, which is thought to have been travelling at around 100 mph.

Mr Hardman said: “There was an almighty roar.

“It sounded like a train coming past then there was all this banging and crashing.

“It is heartbreaking to see it like this after so long.”

Neighbours gathered to comfort each other yesterday as the massive clear-up operation swung into action.

Huge tree branches were being cleared from the roads, while tarpaulin was placed over roofs which had been wrenched off by the force of the blast.

Rev Tony Redman, vicar of Gt Livermere, returned to his home in The Street to find his chimney had smashed through his roof.

“Friends are really rallying around,” he said. “I have got some of the best neighbours in the world.”

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