‘It was lucky that no one was killled’

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A marquee was ripped from the ground by high winds at a Christmas market causing damage to stalls and hurling a steel pole through the side of a caravan.

The incident took place at Tansley Christmas Market in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The immense structure, which measured 57 metres by 12 metres, flew through the air, caught on a strong gust of wind, damaging several vehicles and spearing the caravan as it went.

The caravan was occupied at the time, but fortunately nobody inside was injured.

Shaun Hogg, who organised the Christmas market, said it was that lucky no one was killed.

“I got a call at 12.30pm to say ‘the marquee is gone’,” he said.

Shaun, who lives in Ripley, rushed to the scene of the market, off Nottingham Road, in Tansley.

“It was completely annihilated,” he recalled.

“I have never seen anything like it, there was no stopping it once it was airborne.

“It was like a sail.”

Only an hour beforehand Shaun and his staff had checked the marquee to ensure it was properly secured to the ground.

Still being thrown around by the wind, the marquee was too dangerous to approach, so the men had nothing to do but wait until the wind died down to dismantle it.

In the meantime all the stalls that had been covered by the marquee had been left open to the rain. Some had been smashed.

The market ran successfully on Friday and Saturday, but the final day on Sunday was cancelled after the incident.

Shaun is now in talks with both his insurers and the firm that erected the marquee.

He had intended to make the Christmas market the largest in the region.

Despite his awful experience, he has not given up.

“I will try again next year,” Shaun vowed. “It will take more than a marquee turning over to stop me.”