The story of The Great Storm, 1987 as told through memories and contemporary diary entries - see below for full details
On 16th October 1987, we emerged from our homes to new horizons as we took in the devastation of the previous night's storm and realised the extent of the damage not only to our homes but to the countryside. Our green and pleasant land had been decimated by the loss of millions of trees and our landscape altered beyond measure. The strength of the storm can be put into context when you realise such devastation had not been seen on this scale since 1703.
30 years on, Ditchling History Project set out to collect as many memories of the Great Storm as possible from our community. We are very grateful to all of our contributors and those who have generously given access to photographs. From the wealth of memories passed to us the story that emerged was a clear timeline of the events of the storm as they occurred from being woken in the night, emerging the next morning and the ensuing days and weeks. Inevitably we have not been able to include everything we have been given but full records will be preserved in our archive for posterity.
During the editing process, we were struck by the difference between written reminiscences and contemporary diary entries. Memories detail moments of humour amidst the tales of destruction and difficulty that followed the storm. Conversely, diary entries reveal a greater sense of shock, loss, disbelief and the raw emotions felt at the time. We realise that when looking back time has softened the edges.