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Two teachers in near miss after tree blows over in Stoke Newington

PUBLISHED: 18:34 05 January 2012 | UPDATED: 18:51 05 January 2012

Head of school at Grazebrook Primary, Derek Hewie, observes the damage

Head of school at Grazebrook Primary, Derek Hewie, observes the damage

Archant

A tree crashed down in a Stoke Newington street this afternoon, narrowly missing two primary school teachers who were walking past on their lunch break.

The tree, which was felled by the strong winds buffeting the capital and the rest of the country, blocked Lordship Road for several hours, and partially crushed a Mercedes parked in a resident’s driveway.

Two trees in the front garden of a house next to Grazebrook Primary School were blown over just before 1.30pm, but the second one fell against another tree in a neighbouring garden, which precariously held it in position.

The school’s headteacher, Derek Hewie, came outside to observe the damage after his two shaken staff members told him what had happened.

“The tree fell behind them just as they walked under it,” he told the Gazette. “If it had come down ten minutes earlier the children would’ve been in the playground, and if it had fallen in another direction it would have actually landed in the playground, so it was a lucky escape all round.”

The occupants of the house were not home when their tree crashed down and damaged one of the two cars parked on their driveway.

Tree surgeons arrived with chainsaws to cut the tree into pieces to allow it to be taken away.

Gardener James Topp, who works for Hackney Homes - the organisation which manages the council’s housing stock - said it has been a busy time.

“Several trees have come down in these winds over the last couple of days,” he said.

“We’re going around picking up big branches and calling out the tree surgeons when something big like this happens.

“I’ve worked in Hackney for 21 years and the last time it was as bad as this was donkey years ago.”

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