Storm: Collier Row woman, 74, “dragged halfway down garden” and taken to hospital after fence panel blows out

Carol Smith

Carol Smith - Credit: Archant

A 74-year-old great-grandmother sustained a head injury and a fractured back after being hit by a falling fence panel and dragged “halfway down the garden” during Monday’s high winds.

Collier Row resident Carol Smith became Havering’s first casualty during a storm that felled about 100 trees across the borough, grounded trains and blocked roads.

“It really was a bad gust,” the grandmother-of-six told the Recorder from her Queen’s hospital bed.

“The gate was banging after I let the cat and the dog in, so I went out to shut it and as I was walking past the fence blew out and a panel hit me in the head.

“I flew in the air, did a somersault and landed on my back.

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“It was 7am so I had to crawl indoors on my hands and knees because that was the only way I could get in touch with my family.

“I’ve got lots of bruises.”

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Lucy Fenn found her grandmother “white as a ghost” and surrounded by blood when she arrived at Carol’s Highfield Road flat.

After receiving eight stitches, an MRI scan and a back brace, Carol is on the mend but remains shaken.

“She was in a right state – really shocked,” said Lucy.

“The fence panel had dragged her halfway down the garden.”

Greater Anglia trains across Havering, initially expected to be running by 9am, were cancelled into the afternoon thanks to debris on the line, with commuters instead crowding into buses and District line services.

The Romford to Upminster line, and the Rainham loop on the line to Fenchurch Street, remained shut on Tuesday.

Havering Council’s parks protection officers were called out to Harrow Lodge Park by police and members of the public at about 6.30am to a willow tree that had fallen across an electrical cable, which was hanging “dangerously close” to footbridge railings.

Parks protection manager Stephen Rawlins said: “When we first arrived we thought someone might get electrocuted.

“We closed the area off. There was also damage to the other end of the bridge where a tree had fallen onto a street lamp.”

Street teams across the borough also had early starts as the council tackled the storm.

Harold Hill Library was closed for about three hours because the storm had loosened the windows at the top of the building.

Armed with cameras and phones, Recorder readers sent in their photos of fallen trees, fences and walls. You can see more on our website:

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