Minister thanks God for wall crush escape

NEAR MISS: Rev Nigel Ford, his wife Val and their dog Jonah near the wall that collapsed outside their home.
NEAR MISS: Rev Nigel Ford, his wife Val and their dog Jonah near the wall that collapsed outside their home.

A Sudbury minister and his wife who were nearly crushed when their six-foot garden wall collapsed have thanked God for their escape.

The Rev Nigel Ford and his wife Val had just left their home in Meadow Lane to take their dog Jonah for a walk on Wednesday afternoon when the brick wall fell.

“We were walking right next to the wall as the pavement on the other side was slippery,” said Mr Ford, who has been minister of Sudbury Baptist Church in Church Street since 2007. “We got to the end of the wall and there was an almighty crash behind us, the ground shook and the whole wall had crashed down.”

His wife added: “I thought there had been a horrific car crash, it was that sort of bang.”

The bricks covered the whole road, causing traffic to queue up in both directions, but nobody was injured.

“I thought ‘thank the Lord’ for it not killing us – it would definitely have killed the dog and done us some serious injuries,” said the minister.

Mrs Ford said: “An elderly woman had done exactly as we had done but walking the other way a few minutes earlier.

“It doesn’t bear thinking about.”

The couple’s good fortune continued as, within minutes of the incident, which is believed to have been caused by frost damage to the foundations, four men in a white van who were on their way to a job nearby pulled up and helped to clear the road.

“I said to them they must be angels and they laughed,” said Mrs Ford, who said she didn’t know who the men were but thanked them for their help.

They managed to clear enough space for cars to get through and the police arrived to ensure everything was safe.

The wall, which Mr Ford estimates is at least 150 years old, is expected to prove costly to repair, with one quote estimating a cost of £1.50 per brick. It was rebuilt around five years ago and is owned by Sudbury Baptist Church as part of the minister’s house, which was built 25 years ago.

“Our neighbours were amazed,” said Mr Ford. “We were feeling very blessed indeed that worse had not happened. “I do believe it was a divine protection.”

He added that he would be recounting the story of his and his wife’s lucky escape to his congregation in future.