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Dartmouth Cameraman John was the eye of the storm

AN eyewitness has described seeing rocks being ‘thrown around like feathers’ as the most violent storm for more than 30 years battered the coast last week.
John Walker, a semi-retired professional cameraman from Dartmouth, had gone to Torcross last Tuesday night to film the waves. The wild seas and high tides eventually ended up causing considerable damage to properties along the seafront in the village and the closure of the Slapton Line.
John said: ‘It was quite scary and very dangerous. I got down there just before high tide as I had some idea of what was going to happen. It was already really unsafe with waves and rocks coming over the breakwall and hitting the houses. Stones were even being thrown clear over the houses and landing in the road on the other side.’
‘I saw paving slabs cartwheeling down the front, you just had to be there to experience it.’
John’s videos of the night’s events and aftermath have received thousands of hits on Youtube.
In one, he interviews Bill Marsh, one of the few residents of seafront properties who was at home at the time.
In the video, Mr Marsh describes ‘the worst storm in 35 years’ and says he was ‘scared to walk around without a helmet’.
Shirley Goddard’s house also fronts on to the sea at Torcross, but having seen predictions of storm damage and flooding she had gone to her daughter’s house in South Brent for the night.
She described the scene upon her return and the clean up operation: ‘All my windows were smashed in, and the sea had soaked the carpet. I’m waiting for the carpet to be dealt with now as it’s starting to stink, then tomorrow the loss adjustors from the insurance company are coming to look at the damage.
‘The police and coastguard were marvellous, and the community spirit has been really nice with everyone helping each other.’
Maurice Vann was also away from his seafront property on the night, but came straight home when he heard about what had happened.
He said: ‘Luckily there was no damage to my house apart from two bollards that got ripped out, but everything was covered with gravel when I got here.
‘The waves were still big when I arrived, but it was just spray hitting the houses.
‘The night before it was green water, actual waves that were smashing into the buildings.
‘It’s the first time in 30 years that my property has been affected. Since they built the seawall after the last really big storm in 1979 there’s been no problems.’

To see Mr Walker’s video taken on the night last week’s big storm hit Torcross, visit our website. To see other videos by Mr Walker and for more information about his work, visit

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