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Alderney Week campers face evacuation

Alderney Week campers face evacuation

Wednesday 07 August 2019

Alderney Week campers face evacuation

Wednesday 07 August 2019

Around 150 campers at Alderney's Saye Beach campsite will be evacuated on Thursday because of forecast high winds, which are expected to gust to more than 50mph overnight on Friday.

They will be put up in church halls, the Island Hall and the Masonic Lodge for three nights until tents can be re-erected once the weather calms down.

The planned three-night evacuation comes during the busiest week of the year for the island, when the population is said to double in size. All hotels and guest houses are full and the campsite is at the peak of its occupancy.

Some campers have family, friends or holiday acquaintances in the island to whose houses they will go. But many others, including French and Dutch families currently staying there, have no links direct links to the island.

At 22:00 on Friday the average windspeed is forecast to be 25mph gusting to 44mph. By 04:00 on 10 August it is set to gust up to 51mph.

Saye campsite Alderney

Pictured above and top: Saye campsite in Alderney is run by Zoe Sowden and this is its busiest week of the year. 

Campsite manager Zoe Sowden said: "We will keep checking the weather but we have to evacuate in advance as a precaution to keep people safe and save tents."

She has also turned to the States of Alderney for help, knowing that a couple of years ago the States prepared an Emergency Plan, aimed at putting measures in place for if a large scale incident happened such as a fault at Cap de la Hague or Flamanville. This is the first time however that any part of it has been called on.

The States of Alderney will shuttle campers to alternative accommodation and States Works employees will help take down and then re-erect tents on Sunday.

"We appreciate the help being given by some residents who are accommodating friends and acquaintances in their homes. There will still be between 80 and 100 campers who will need to be accommodated over Friday night and Saturday night," said States CEO Andrew Muter.

"We have agreed the use of a number of venues including Island Hall, the Masonic Hall, the Methodist Church Hall and the Catholic Church Hall. Campers will be moved on Friday to these venues and assistance will be available from States Works to help take down tents. We hope to be able to reverse the process and get people back to the campsite on Sunday. This will all depend on when the wind speed drops.

'We want everyone on the island to enjoy the rest of Alderney Week and their holiday so we’ll be working to ensure this is as easy enjoyable as possible for everyone affected."

One camper said: "It's not the ideal way to spend any part of your holiday but it will certainly make it memorable."

Mandy Robilliard from Guernsey has had to move into a hotel, "it's a shame but it's a necessity. It doesn't put us off camping!"

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