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Lightning strikes twice as Purley family's holiday curse continues

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A FAMILY with a holiday curse to match the McCallisters in Home Alone had their second nightmare trip to the same location in under a year.

Martin Pitchley, 48, was just 15 minutes from his Purley home with his pregnant fiancée Zoe Moore, 36, her father Leonard Moore, 79, and his four kids on their way to a caravan park in Camber Sands when a tree was struck by lightning and landed on their car.

The bolt-from-the-blue came during a freak 20 minute storm at around 2pm on July 25 along the Caterham By-Pass in Whyteleafe and, although luckily no one was hurt, the family's simple two-hour journey turned into a 12 hour trek.

Both Zoe and her father – who has recently suffered a stroke – were badly shaken up by the incident although Martin's children Abbi, two, Ellie, seven, Karl, 14, and Kirstie, 17, were "alright".

Mr Pitchley said: "The weather was terrible so I was driving very carefully and probably only doing about 25mph. If we'd have been going any quicker I might not be here to tell the story.

"The tree just slammed onto our bonnet, then bounced up and hit the top of the car where we had all our luggage. I think the luggage probably cushioned some of the blow.

"I kept going instead of stopping because I didn't want to cause a pile-up and I just had to focus on that, but my family were very shaken by it."

They did not arrive back at their home until 5.30pm, before Mr Pitchley sent his family on a train down to Camber Sands while he sorted everything out.

Delays and problems with taxis meant they did not arrive at the campsite until midnight that evening.

Last September, the Advertiser reported Mr Pitchley's family misery when a toy bought in Camber Sands exploded over his baby Abbi.

Mr Pitchley added: "We like to go on holiday just for the kids really. But what with last year and now this, I might not bother next year."

Lightning strikes twice as Purley family's holiday curse continues


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