Beach hut boys struck by tragedy

Two Sidmouth brothers, whose university fees and travelling ambitions depend on renting deck chairs on the seafront, lost 100 of their precious seats to a storm - after weeks of wet weather ruined the start of their first year’s trade.

The chairs rented by Josh and Dan Gigg, both students, aged 17 and 20, were stored in a beach hut, beneath Jacob’s Ladder, which was destroyed in 20-foot-high waves thrown up by gales.

Forty chairs chained next to the hut were also lost.

In total, �2,500 worth of seats, �200 worth of signs and a bicycle were lost.

“It’s a really bad start to the season,” said Josh, an A-level student.

“First, we couldn’t open for two weeks because of wet weather - and now this,”

“It’s our first year and we didn’t know what to expect, but we didn’t expect a massive storm lifting up and smashing our hut in June!”

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The siblings took over the deck chair concession from East Devon District Council this summer in order to save for university fees (Dan) and to go travelling (Josh).

They first knew about the plight of their storage hut when its destruction was filmed and broadcast on the TV weather programme BBC Spotlight.

“The waves picked up the shed, smashed it against the wall and down the steps and then it was gone,” recalled Josh.

“Next day, there were bits of deck chairs all over the place and we’d basically lost everything.”

A bicycle was recovered.

Initial fears that the loss would put the brothers out of business or ruin their saving plans have been dispelled after EDDC agreed to replace the 100 chairs.

“It’s a huge relief,” added Josh, who is now hoping for some better weather.

Those who would like to support the boys in their time of need can recline in a chair on the promenade for �1 for two hours, up to �25 for a season’s hire.