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Monday, 28 October, 2002, 20:34 GMT
Boy died saving brother in storm
Ben Vince (left) with sister Jessica and Christopher
Christopher Vince (right) died saving brother Ben (left).
A 12-year-old boy died saving his older brother from a falling tree during the storms which battered the UK.

Christopher Vince, 12, pushed his 16-year-old brother Ben clear as a tree was toppled by high winds at Costessey, near Norwich, Norfolk.

His father Jonathan Vince, 47, said the family was "absolutely devastated" by the death of their younger son, but proud of his heroism.

Details of the accident emerged as the UK counted the estimated 50m cost of the storms which claimed seven lives, including that of Christopher.


He was a lovely little boy, he was tiny, handsome but with a huge personality, very mischievous

Jonathan Vince
There was disruption to rail, road and air travel and tens of thousands of homes suffered power cuts.

Mr Vince gave details on Monday about how his young son died.

Christopher and Ben had gone for a walk in woodland near their home with their pet dog, which was also crushed to death by the tree.

Mr Vince said: "The storm hadn't got quite up to its full strength, and they wanted to watch the leaves blow about.

"The wood is only 100 metres away and I was at the window thinking 'I hope they come back soon'.

'Very brave'

"Then Jessica (the boys' 10-year-old sister) came up to the window screaming 'Chris is dead, Chris is dead'.

"I just ran up the road and my wife was behind me.

"He was a lovely little boy, he was tiny, handsome but with a huge personality, very mischievous and always liked a good laugh and always liked to be brave."

London
London streets were also hit by the storms
Ben Vince told the BBC how he lost consciousness during the incident.

He said: "Suddenly my brother yelled 'get out of the way' and pushed me to the ground.

"The next minute I just woke up and the tree had fallen."

A neighbour helped emergency services rescue Christopher from under the tree but he was pronounced dead in hospital.

Other fatalities during the storm on Sunday included a three-year-old boy from Felixstowe in Suffolk who died after suffering head injuries when a tree fell on his pushchair.

A 22-year-old woman died in Oxford city centre after an oak tree fell on her car, crushing the roof.

In Norfolk, Eric White, who was in his 50s, was killed by a falling tree in his garden in Whittington, near Downham Market.

Another falling tree, this time in Shropshire, killed a 14-year-old girl and injured two other occupants of a car on the A41.

In Wales a man was killed on the A40 at Bwlch, east of Brecon, when a large branch fell on his car at the height of the storms.

Power cuts

The gales also caused British Airways to cancel 11 flights on Monday and rail passengers have faced delays after trees crashed on to train tracks and brought down power cables.

Meanwhile, electricity company 24Seven 76,000 of its 200,000 customers in East Anglia who were cut off during the storm were still without power on Monday evening.

The company dealt with 500,000 calls and called engineers from France to help restore electricity.

In Wales, about 15,000 households suffered power cuts.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Sangita Myska
"Christopher Vince was a happy boy, but above all he was brave"

Click here to go to Norfolk
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28 Oct 02 | England
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