Family forced out by Hainault tornado finally allowed back home

A Hainault family who watched in horror as their house was wrecked by a tornado, forcing them to live with friends for weeks, have finally put their feet up at home.

Mandy Belcher, daughter Sophie and her partner Chris, had to stay at friend Francesca Spiteri’s house after the freak weather on January 3 ripped up the roof on their house in The Lowe, and left a supporting wall dangerously lop-sided.

Luckily Ms Belcher had insured the house and its contents, and after several quotes from builders the family were able to progress with fixing the damage, and finally moved home two weeks ago.

Ms Belcher said: “We had a massive scaffolding up for weeks, as we needed a whole new roof. There were lots of checks done on how safe our house was before we moved back in.”

Although they did not lose any precious belongings in the tornado, their garden, which Chris had spent several summers clearing and decorating, was destroyed.

“It was heartbreaking seeing it, and the shed we had made is ruined with lots of holes in it,” said Ms Belcher. “We had put little pot plants in there and they were scattered and broken all over the garden.”

Ms Belcher believes the only reason the family’s cat survived was because it hid under a barbecue in the garden.

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But the house was not the only part of The Lowe left ruined by the tornado – a bus stop was blown over, trees were uprooted and a trampoline was blown into the street.