TWO historic trees which are more than 100-years-old have been destroyed after being struck by lightning.

Sarah Brice and her family were in bed at their home, Donyland House, in Rowhedge, when they were woken by the sound of an explosion.

The two Blue Atlas cedar, which Sarah believes are 130-years-old, were ripped apart after being hit by lightning during a thunderstorm last week.

The country has been basking in temperatures well into the 30s in a scorching summer heatwave.

But on Thursday morning the first of a series of thunderstorms hit north Essex.

Sarah said: “It must have been about 7.30am and we were all asleep in bed.

“We didn’t hear the thunder.

“Then there was a noise which was like an explosion - it sounded like a bomb going off.

“It must have happened so quickly. The kids jumped out of bed and said ‘What’s happened outside’. “

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When Sarah and her partner, Lee Fremel, looked outside they discovered the tree, just metres from the house, had been badly damaged in the storm.

Sarah said: “It must have struck both trees and has totally obliterated them.

“They were 40 to 50ft trees and they are now gone.


“A window downstairs was smashed, we don’t know if it was the vibrations or if some bit came off the tree.

“Nothing else was damaged which is lucky as the car was parked next to the house.

“It could have done a lot more damage.

“They were beautiful trees.”


  • The Dovercourt skyline, taken by Vicky Spires

But it isn’t the first time the family’s home and grounds have been affected by storms.

Sarah added: “They say lightning doesn’t strike twice but 14 months ago, last May, we had bad thunderstorms.

“My mum was here and the lightning struck one of the fir trees on the other side of the house.

“There was lots of debris and it split. It must have struck it down the middle.”

This time the lightning strikes also took out the family’s internet, much to the disappointment of Sarah’s children.

The family has now begun the process of clearing the wood left strewn across their garden.

Yellow weather warnings for thunderstorms remain in place over the weekend and into next week.

Read more >>> Delays as part of the A12 floods following torrential rain

On Friday, drivers faced delays after torrential rain flooded part of the A12.

The A12 Londonbound between Spring Lane and Eight Ash Green was affected with flood water across the carriageway.

Drivers were asked to slow down on approach as traffic began to queue back towards the Jobserve Community Stadium.

Police said the flood waters were along a five mile stretch of the road.