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Falling tree misses children by inches

PUBLISHED: 19:15 15 August 2002 | UPDATED: 12:28 03 March 2010

TERRIFIED children were forced to run for their lives after coming within inches of being crushed by a falling tree.

The mothers of the five children, aged between five and ten, could only look on in horror as part of the tree crashed to the ground in Holywells Park, on Cliff Lane, Ipswich.

TERRIFIED children were forced to run for their lives when they came within inches of being crushed by a falling tree.

The mothers of the five children, aged between five and ten, could only look on in horror as part of the tree crashed to the ground in Holywells Park off Cliff Lane in Ipswich.

The Walker family, of Geralds Avenue, Ipswich, and the Fry family, of Orwell Road, Ipswich, were making their way home after a day out in the park when disaster nearly struck.

Karen Walker, 32, mother of two of the children, was pushing her 16-month-old child just yards in front of the children when the tree came toppling down.

She said: "The tree crashed down and it was all over in a second. If the children were any further back they wouldn't have got out of the way, it was that quick.

"We were so lucky that the children could run because I hate to think what might have happened. Someone somewhere was looking after them today."

She added: "I am just so relieved that I didn't let my little one walk about because she wouldn't have been able to get out of the way."

Alison Fry, 36, mother of three of the children, said: "Just looking at the damage that tree could have done is frightening. Afterwards, we were just standing there in shock."

Ten-year-old Curtis Walker said: "I heard this cracking and looked up because I thought someone was banging the tree. Then I heard it crack again. We all ran and then it came down and just went smash."

"We had to run to get out of the way because we were right underneath it."

Jonathan Fry, also 10, said: "I was next to Curtis and at first we took no notice of the cracking. Then we heard another crack and so we all ran. It came crashing down and it only just missed us."

The oak tree, thought to be around 100 years old, fell in a wooded alleyway of the park at around 4.30pm on Monday.

James Baker, an Ipswich borough council conservation officer, was working at the park when the incident happened.

He said: "It was a complete surprise. The trees are always inspected regularly and we look for signs of disease but there were no obvious signs. It was a healthy tree and it was a still day.

"The part of the tree that fell down was leaning to the side but that was no reason for it to fall. Tree surgeons will be coming down to make an assessment.

"The only explanation could be that the trees are in full leaf, carrying acorns and have a lot of sap in them at this time of year, which makes them heavier."

Despite their brush with tragedy, both families have requested a log from the tree to put in their gardens as a reminder of their remarkable escape.

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