Former Great Yarmouth residents’ New Zealand earthquake ordeal

A FORMER Great Yarmouth man and his wife survived last week’s devastating New Zealand earthquake, which killed more than 200 people.

Alan and Rose Cracknel, who live in Christchurch, escaped without injury, although their home was damaged.

Their daughter Annette, her husband David and the couple’s three children were badly affected at their home in the New Brighton area, which was left without power, water and sewerage.

They have moved into Mr Cracknel’s home a few miles away. Mr Cracknel used to work at Beehive garage in Gorleston, but has lived in New Zealand most of his life.

Last week, Palmers director Stuart McGee, 59 spoke of how he was on a coach with his wife Linda, 64, a short distance from Christchurch when the 6.3 magnitude quake struck on February 22.

The couple from Gorleston were travelling to the South Island city’s Millennium Hotel when the quake struck.

“We arrived in the city around 12.30pm and our driver took us on a tour of the city pointing out the highlights for us to see over the next few days,” he said.

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“We then went up to a viewing point above the city, prior to us going to the hotel, as we were ready to leave the coach rocked violently for a few seconds.

“It did not appear at first that it was a major shock but as we looked toward the city we could see the dust rising into the air.

Staff and guests were safely evacuated from the Millennium Hotel without any injuries, although the hotel was damaged during the quake.

Another former Yarmouth resident Mick Steventon was just over seven miles away from Christchurch when the earthquake struck.

He e-mailed The Mercury to say his family were safe and his house was still standing, and they had running water and power.

Mr Steventon, who left Yarmouth 10 years ago, said: “Up to now had no regrets. Nobody warned me about these shakes, definitely no Pleasure Beach ride.”

He added: “Hard to comprehend that all we see on the news is just 12km away. All the family are safe and well over here and realise just how lucky we are.

“It never ceases to amaze me how out of a disaster everybody always pulls together and not just here, from all corners of the world.”