Mum of three Toni Hoare is lucky to be alive
after a 70 foot tree crashed onto the roof of her house while she was feeding her daughter in the early hours.
Toni was sat up in bed feeding five-month-old
Winnie when she heard a noise 'like a car crashing' above her head at around 5.30am on Sunday morning.
Several tonnes of beech tree, thought to be around 300 years old, fell against Toni and husband Steven's home in Plymouth, Devon, putting five two-foot-wide holes in the roof above the couple's bedroom.
The timber which had split close to its base then crushed a cherry blossom tree below and settled on open space next to the property, blocking the road.
Toni, 32, a practice nurse who is also mum to Lola, four, and Isabelle, three, said: "There was so much noise - it was a really loud cracking sound that went on for several seconds, like a car crashing and lots of crunching.
"I thought the whole house was falling down. I thought it could be something in the garden like the trampoline blowing around. I looked out of the window and there were branches everywhere. I was shaking for about an hour with the shock and the enormity of it all. We're lucky to be alive."
Toni immediately called Steven who had taken Lola and Isabelle to nearby Harlyn Bay to check their holiday caravan was coping in the bad weather.
Steven, who works for a pharmaceuticals company, said: "I immediately thought something bad had happened with the shock in her voice. If it was a few more degrees it would have come down right on the house.
"Toni and Winnie could have been crushed. It makes you realise all the damage is immaterial compared to what could have happened. It's a real relief we were all OK."
The family can now see sky through the roof in their family home and are waiting for insurance assessors to see if the timber-frame house has suffered structural damage. Around five holes measuring between one and two feet have been left in the roof, which is littered with tree debris.
The roof felt has been damaged, fascia board has fallen off and the tree has also ripped down the family's guttering, downpipes, and a security light.
A new eight foot fence, recently concreted into the ground, was also crushed along with a gate, and hip tiles have come off the roof.
"All the neighbours have been fantastic helping with the tree and checking we're OK," says Toni. "I'm glad it didn't happen during the daytime as someone could have been crushed driving their car on the road."
Can you imagine anything more scary while sat in bed feeding your baby?
We wish the family all the best with the clean up.
It's so fascinating to see your little one learn about the world, not to mention her own body. If you're lucky, you might even witness the expression on her face when she realises her hands are attached…and she can use them to bat stuff with! (I witnessed the very moment my daughter realised her feet were attached, when she bit down hard on a big toe.)</p>
- Family ties
There will be a particular moment, perhaps not even straight away, and perhaps when you are doing the most mundane of things, when you’ll look at your partner and your baby, and it will hit you for the very first time that you are "a family".</p>
- Making scents
You might have heard people talking about the intoxicating scent of a baby's head before and wondered what on earth they were going on about. But take a big whiff of your own little nipper, and you’ll be away with the fairies! No, you haven't just gone gooey – some experts think babies' heads give off pheromones that send oxytocin coursing through your veins (dads, too). Breathe it in, it doesn't last forever!</p>
- Touching moments
Feeding your baby is always a great time for bonding, but it's the little unexpected things they do - such as clutching at your hand, pawing your breast (or, as mine did, pinging your bra strap) that make it memorable.</p>
- Getting the giggles
Some babies do it early, others make their parents wait and work bloody hard for it… but the first time your baby really laughs from their belly, your heart will sing! Who'd have thought daddy could ever be THAT funny? Seriously.</p>
- Here's lookin' at you!
Most babies arrive a bit puffy and spend the first few days with their faces screwed up, trying to make sense of the shapes they’re suddenly seeing. But when those dark eyes actually find yours, you’ll be blown away by the feeling that this brand new little person knows you to your very soul.</p>
- Mini me!
Many parents find it easier to see their newborn as an image of their partner - but the first time you recognise a part of yourself in your baby (perhaps a wonky yawn or the way they lift their eyebrows) is a strange, yet lovely, sensation.</p>
- Snooze fests
There is nothing more peaceful than reclining with a sleeping baby on your chest: soft little breaths, squidgy cheeks, a perfect pause in time… Zzzz.</p>
- Simple things
You wouldn't be normal unless you sometimes missed the old days, when you could drop everything and head out for a night on the town. But the realisation that you really would rather be snuggling at home with your baby than out strutting your stuff makes you feel as warm as the cup of cocoa you're clutching.</p>
- The 'awwww!' factor
From hiccupping (seriously adorable) to learning to kiss you back, there will by myriad moments of supreme cuteness. But possibly the biggest "Awww!" will come when you use the bubbles in your baby’s bath to make him look like a gnome (and he beams at you because he has no idea what he looks like).</p>
- Adulation and adoration
Who needs to be a superstar, eh? With your baby comes the stupendous feeling of being the funniest, loveliest, most important person in any room. And, of course, you are.</p>