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Last Updated: Friday, 8 December 2006, 12:43 GMT
Tornado victim's future uncertain
Ann Hodges
Ann Hodges had to spend the night at a friend's house
Leaving home with her handbag, insurance papers and a bag of knitting, Ann Hodges had no idea when she would be returning.

She was one of the many people living in properties that had to be evacuated when a tornado hit Kensal Rise in north-west London on Thursday.

After waiting several hours in a respite centre set up by Brent Council, she was eventually told that she would not be allowed home that night.

Luckily offers of a bed for the night came flooding in from friends and she prepared herself for a night away from her home.

Clothes washed

"I was lucky enough to go to a friend's house and my son and his partner were put up in a hotel.

"I turned up and my friend washed everything I was wearing so I'd have fresh clothes.

"It's a weird sensation, I still feel jittery inside which I guess is just shock, I still can't believe this has happened.

"I've never seen anything like it before. It was there and then it was gone."

I like my house and all my home comforts
Ann Hodges

Despite being well looked after Mrs Hodges, 69, admitted she was extremely anxious to return to her flat in Whitmore Gardens and to check on her cat.

"My cat's there so I'm keen to get back and to see what damage has been done.

"I like my house and all my home comforts."

Mrs Hodges said she thought the damage to her home was minimal but was aware that there could be structural damage.

"A few tiles had come off the roof and a skylight had lifted and I lost some guttering but I'm not an expert so there could be more serious damage."

Faced with the prospect of being unable to return home for some time she said: "I am going to take it one day at a time but I hope I will be able to get back in very soon."

Mrs Hodges was in bed suffering with a migraine when the storm struck on Thursday morning.

Hearing the thunder she looked out of the window and watched as the tornado tore her neighbourhood apart.

Lucky escape

"There was a terrific whooshing noise, trees were being bent then uprooted. The sky was filled with tiles like confetti.

"When they asked us to leave I took my handbag and I grabbed a bag with my knitting and tablets in and my insurance papers."

Despite the disruption to her life Mrs Hodges said she was well aware how lucky those affected were to escape serious injury.

"We don't know the half of it, when you think of the tsunami and tornadoes in America, here nobody was seriously hurt and we must be very grateful for that."




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