Two die in Norfolk in storms

TWO people died in Norfolk as a result of the high winds.One man died in his back garden near Kings Lynn while a schoolboy died after a tree fell on him in Norwich.

By Paul Geater

TWO people died in Norfolk as a result of the high winds.

One man died in his back garden near Kings Lynn while a schoolboy died after a tree fell on him in Norwich.

Christopher Vince, 12, was crushed by the falling tree in Green Hills Woods in Costessey during yesterday's high winds.

The Notre Dame High School pupil was walking the family border collie dog, Jack, with his brother Ben, 16, sister Jessica, 10, and another friend when they decided the weather was too bad to carry on.

But as they approach the entrance to the woods, on Town House Road, Christopher saw the tree start to fall and heroically saved Ben's life by pushing him out of the way.

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Tragically the youngster was unable to save himself or the dog and both were struck by the falling trunk at about 10.30am.

Ambulance crews and firefighters were joined by a neighbour who tried to rescue the child by hacking the tree away with a chainsaw, but he was later pronounced dead at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.

Christopher's grieving parents Jonathan, 47, and Sandra, 43, of Town House Road, said they were stunned by what had happened.

Mr Vince, a production planner for United Closures and Plastics (UCP), in Salhouse Road, Norwich and former Costessey Parish Councillor, said: "He obviously saw the tree fall and saved his brother's life.

"Ben wants everybody to know Christopher died trying to save him. We cannot believe what has happened."

Mrs Vince, who works as an assistant in the village pharmacy, added: "He was a real live wire. He seemed to always have people laughing. He said he always hoped to be a hero."

Ben suffered a badly bruised leg in the tragedy, but none of the other youngsters were injured.

Tragedy also truck elsewhere in the county when 50-year-old Eric White, of Methwold Road, Whittington, near Downham Market, was crushed by a huge beech tree just metres from his home.

He was walking from Whiteaways waste-removal firm just after 10am yesterday when it happened.

He was rushed to hospital but later died. His wife, Jacqueline, collapsed and was also taken to hospital, suffering from a suspected heart attack.

Norfolk police received double the 999 calls they would normally receive at this time of year and said several roads were blocked with twigs and logs.

Police in Essex, who were receiving up to five 999 calls per minute, said the QE2 bridge over the Thames at Dartford had to be closed and that Stansted Airport was suffering from disruptions where many flights had to be cancelled.

A spokesman for East Anglian Ambulance Service said: "It's been a very harrowing and tragic day for East Anglia."

The service took twice the normal number of calls and some ambulances were delayed for up to 40 minutes, in some cases, by fallen trees blocking roads, he added.

An ambulance in Mildenhall had a lucky escape when it was hit by a branch and two further ambulances parked in Lowestoft were crushed by a tree. The East Anglian Air Ambulance was grounded.