Whirlwind rips through village fete

A VILLAGE fete was put in a spin by a sudden whirlwind that lifted tables and sent stalls flying.

Visitors were enjoying Cressing Village Fayre, near Braintree, on Saturday afternoon, when the freak gust of air disrupted proceedings shortly before 4.30pm.

According to reports it lasted just a few minutes and tore down many of the stands and canopies while some of the covering tenting was also lifted 40ft into the air.

One woman was hit on the back of the head by a flying table but no one was seriously injured.

Fair organiser Sue Turner told BBC Essex: “As quickly as it came it disappeared and then people rushed to help.

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“Visitors around the arena were watching an egg catching competition when it struck one area of the field.

“Gazebos, tables, chairs and contents were lifted into the air and spread over gardens and the school.

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“One lady was hit across the back of her head by a flying table, another was tangled in the shreds of her gazebo. It was horrendous but luckily no-one was seriously injured.

“We would like to thank everyone who helped and express our sympathy to those that lost so much.”

Police Community Support Officers from Essex Police helped to calm the situation, while members of St John’s Ambulance treated any injuries at the scene.

Forecaster Chris Bell, from East Anglia’s WeatherQuest, said the phenomena was likely to have been a “dust devil” or whirlwind caused by heat.

“Clouds were too high for it to have been a tornado and there weren’t any heavy enough showers,” he said.

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