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Dad-of-three thought ‘time was up’ during terrifying caravan trip in Storm Arwen


A dad described his birthday getaway as ‘like something out of Mad Max’ after Storm Arwen battered the caravan site he and his family were staying at.

Ian McPherson had planned the weekend away to Crimdon Dene Holiday Park near Hartlepool to celebrate his 49th birthday.

He arrived at the coastal spot on Friday with wife Kerry, 43, children Robbie, 19, Daniel, 14, Ella, seven, and their French bulldog Bella.

After going to bed on the first night, Ian said the wind was so strong that the family were left fearing for their lives and attempted to head home, Teesside Live reports.

However, they were advised not to travel in the midst of the storm and were instead forced to spend the night on the floor of the site office.

The self-employed builder said: “When I looked out the window I saw a caravan and it was floating down the hill on its gas bottle. It was almost like the gas bottle was its wheels.

“I walked towards it and looked around. At that point I decided to get in my car.

“It was like something out of Mad Max. I thought it was the end of the world, that’s what it felt like.

“I thought our time was up.”

Ian said that the strong winds started when they went to bed during their first night at the park.



The family were forced to spend the night in the site office.
The family were forced to spend the night in the site office.

He said: “It felt like really bad turbulence. We were all scared to go into the front part of the caravan.

“The fire was physically moving in the wall backwards and forwards and the caravan started bouncing.

“We were lying in bed thinking it’s going to blow over.

“My daughter was lying in bed cuddling in to me. She was so frightened. I was saying it’s ok but I was petrified.”



One of the caravan's had completely flipped over.
One of the caravan’s had completely flipped over.

Ian said they attempted to leave the site after noticing the damage which was being caused to caravans around them.

A number of holiday homes were ripped apart during the night and a member of the security team was taken to hospital.

Ian said he went to the site office with his family during the early hours of the morning.

He said a member of staff advised against him driving back to their home in Chester-le-Street, County Durham.



From left to right , Ella, Ian, Daniel and Kerry.
From left to right , Ella, Ian, Daniel and Kerry.

The dad-of-three said: “We went to the site office and we sat on one of the office floors.

“We went up to the site office at about half past four in the morning and stopped there until eight o’clock.”

Ian said that he was then told to collect his belongings from his caravan on Saturday morning and evacuate the site.



Ian was on the weekend getaway with his wife and three children.
Ian was on the weekend getaway with his wife and three children.

He said that the trip, which was supposed to last until Monday, was his first visit to Crimdon Dene.

Ian said they planned to watch the Newcastle United match and go into Hartlepool for an Indian meal.

He said: “We were all there as a family. We never do anything as a family, even the dog was there!”

Ian said it was simply “pot luck” that the caravan they were staying is did not suffer serious damage like others on the site.

He added: “It was horrendous.

“It was a shock to see caravans overturned. I just feel so lucky that wasn’t us.”

A spokesperson for Crimdon Dene Holiday Park said yesterday: “A number of caravans have been damaged as a result of Storm Arwen, and we are in touch with any owners affected.

“One member of our security team on park has been taken to hospital as a precaution after injuring his knee, and we are making sure he has whatever support he needs.

“The park is currently closed, and due to the dangerous weather causing a threat to life, everybody should adhere to Met Office guidance and stay away from the park for the time being.”





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