Lucky escape in park

TWO men had a lucky escape in the height of the gales after this huge horse chestnut tree blew down - landing inches from the bench they were sitting on.

TWO men had a lucky escape in the height of the gales after this huge horse chestnut tree blew down - landing inches from the bench they were sitting on.

The pair were thought to have been drinking while sitting on the bench in Christchurch Park when the tree plummeted to the ground landing yards from their bench.

The park, in the centre of Ipswich, remained closed this morning as loose branches were still hanging from trees.

Sam Pollard, park manager, said three trees had been blown over yesterday as winds battered the centre of town.

Mr Pollard said: “We have a couple of guys who regularly sit there and the bench is only a few foot from the tree and the trunk that came down must have only been about a metre away from them.

“It was very, very close and they were pretty lucky.

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“It is possible they had had a drink or two and it may have taken them a while to react to what happened. “That is possibly a good thing as if they had tried to move they may have moved into its path.”

The 100-year-old tree damaged fencing around the pond but Mr Pollard said it was due to be shut off in the next couple of weeks anyway so dredging work can take place.

The park remained closed today while Mr Pollard and his colleagues surveyed the safety of several trees.

He said some would have to cordoned off until specialists could come in and remove loose branches at the top.

Lower branches could be removed by council staff using chain saws.

Christchurch Park is expected to reopen at about 11am today.

All parks in the town were closed yesterday afternoon because of the high winds and all league football matches held at council grounds this weekend have been cancelled.

Several pine trees were also damaged in Orwell Country Park and branches were lost on trees at Holywells Park.

A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council said no paths had been blocked in any of the parks.

Meanwhile, council staff were also working to repair shed roofs in Waterford Road after tarpaulin was ripped off them in the wind.

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