Storm shuts cancer retreat

STORM DESTRUCTION: Rob Brooks surveys the damage.
STORM DESTRUCTION: Rob Brooks surveys the damage.

A woodland retreat for cancer sufferers and children with disabilities has been forced to close due to damage caused by St Jude’s storm.

Around 400 tonnes of timber came down in 70mph winds at the Eden-Rose Coppice in Sudbury last Monday.

Rob Brooks, who founded the charity, which provides an escape for patients fighting cancer and a place to learn for youngsters with special needs, said fallen trees had made the woodland area in Quay Lane too dangerous to use.

“We knew what was coming so I got there at 7am to make sure no patients, who sometimes use the retreat early in the morning, were there,” said Mr Brooks.

“We put up signs and extra padlocks and then just stood back and watched. It was pretty scary.”

Mr Brooks, who himself has fought cancer, said he believed the site would be closed for around two weeks while the destruction was cleared.

“There are still trees which are hanging precariously and nobody can go in at the moment,” he said.

“I have had to cancel all the school trips, but they understand and I have had some cancer patients offering to come down to help.”

It is expected that the clean-up operation will cost around £10,000.

“We will find the money from somewhere,” said Mr Brooks.