Sidmouth couple email Prince William over NZ quake

Sidmouth couple thank Prince William for visiting Sumner during his NZ trip

A SIDMOUTH couple, caught up in the destructive earthquake in New Zealand, have emailed Prince William, who recently addressed residents in Christchurch.

Richard and Janet Newton were in the city’s cathedral caf� when the earthquake struck, together with their friend Pam Vickers, whose home in Sumner was damaged by the quake.

Janet wrote to the prince thanking him for his visit “…in particular the fire station in Sumner, who showed such kindness to two complete strangers from the UK.

“We had a very long, difficult walk back to Sumner from the cathedral, only to find Pam’s house was so badly damaged that it was unsafe, with the constant aftershocks, to remain inside.

“Night was drawing in, we were exhausted and had nowhere to go. My husband, stopped at the fire station to ask if there was anywhere we could go.”

She said without hesitation they were invited inside and mattresses and bedding, food and water was found for everyone.

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“We were totally overwhelmed by the kindness and hospitality shown to us at the fire station when they had so many demanding and harrowing things to do other than look after two frightened and bewildered British who had only arrived in New Zealand the day before.

“We will always be grateful to them and also to the very kind girl from the St John’s Ambulance who went out of her way to drive us to Hagley Park the next day.

“None of our family will ever forget their kindness and they are all fundraising in the UK, including our nine-year-old granddaughter who hopes to sell 100 of her cuddly toys.

“We still remain so moved by the loving kindness shown to us by the people of New Zealand who have suffered so much.”