A PENSIONER was lucky to escape injury after a 50ft tree blew into her home.
Gale force winds felled the huge conifer, completely flattening a greenhouse and destroying the majority of the garden.
The tree ended up wedged against the back of the pensioner’s house, but luckily didn’t cause any structural damage.
Winifred Parker, 81, said she had the “shock of her life” when she walked into her kitchen to see the tree showered over her home and garden.
The mum-of-six amazingly slept through the collapse but said: “It’s lucky nobody was killed.
“What has happened is terrible but it could have been so much worse.”
Luckily the house wasn’t seriously damaged in the collapse, but plucky Winifred had to force her way out of her back door which was barricaded by branches.
Winds stronger than 40mph, enough for Met Officials to issue an amber warning, battered the town on Thursday and into the night, when the incident happened.
Winifred said she avoided the wind and stayed in the safety of her home, in the Dyke House area of Hartlepool, but never imagined the gales would be strong enough to send the 15-year-old conifer tumbling to the ground.
“It’s completely split in half,” added Winifred, who also has 13 grandchildren, six great grandchildren and one great-great grandson
“It’s devastating but I realise how lucky I have been.
“If it had fell in any other direction it could have done serious damage, it could have killed someone.
“I’m just glad it doesn’t seem to have done any real damage to my house.
“I was in bed at the time and my room is at the front of the house, but I still can’t believe I didn’t hear it.”
Pots, plants, garden ornaments and a water feature were all flattened by the tree. A greenhouse which housed tools and gardening equipment was also smashed.
Winifred, whose husband David died in 2000 aged 70, was upset at losing some of her beloved ornaments but admitted she was happy to escape more damage.
“I remember planting this tree 15 years ago,” she added.
“It’s huge and I never ever thought the wind could split it into two like that.”
As reported in yesterday’s Mail, Thursday’s strong winds threatened to cause havoc.
Scaffolding at a house in Elizabeth Way, Seaton Carew, collapsed and was just metres away from crashing through a conservatory roof.
Fortunately the strong winds died down yesterday, and were expected to stay moderate over the weekend.
Much to Winifred’s relief, the general forecast for the next few days is mild according to the Met Office.
Family and friends spent yesterday in Winifred’s garden chopping the tree into pieces and getting the area back into order.