Victims tell of quake horror

Barbara Weatherill and Delores Maisey in New Zealand
Barbara Weatherill and Delores Maisey in New Zealand

A FORMER Whitby Town player has told of the devastating effect the New Zealand earthquake has had on him and his family.

Kevin Mulgrew played for Whitby over 200 times before emigrating to New Zealand where he went on to represent the national team.

Former Whitby Town player Kevin Mulgrew and his family who have been affected by the New Zealand earthquake recently

Former Whitby Town player Kevin Mulgrew and his family who have been affected by the New Zealand earthquake recently

Mr Mulgrew now lives on the outskirts of Christchurch and his house was damaged in last week’s 6.3-magnitude earthquake (22 February) that claimed at least 169 lives.

He said: “I live near the sea and all the suburbs are built on the sand.

“It’s as if a bomb has hit them.

“There isn’t a house that hasn’t got damage to it and when you have lived somewhere for 35 years, and it’s such a beautiful home, it’s quite sad and upsetting.

Police officers walk through the central business district during a search of earthquake damaged buildings in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Police officers walk through the central business district during a search of earthquake damaged buildings in Christchurch, New Zealand.

“We had to move out of the house for a week because we didn’t have any water, electricity or sanitation.”

Mr Mulgrew was born in Stockton and was part of the Whitby Town squad that played at Wembley in the 1965 FA Trophy Final.

Christchurch is located in New Zealand’s South Island and was designed to mirror a typical English city.

Mr Mulgrew said: “In those days they didn’t understand earthquakes, they just built these magnificent structures, but this quake has caused a hell of a mess.

“It’s probably destroyed 60 per cent of the buildings.

“When you think the population of the South Island is a million, and half of those live in Christchurch, a lot of people have lost their homes and that’s having a devastating effect.

“A lot of people are not only going to lose their homes, but the centre of Christchurch is closed off.

“40,000 people can’t get to work and so they are also going to lose their jobs.”

Barbara Weatherill, of Lime Street in Whitby, has been in regular contact with her pen pal Dolores Maisey since 1988, when the two women were both Brownies.

Mrs Weatherill learned of how Jane Maisey, Dolores’ daughter, was in an office block when the quake struck.

Mrs Weatherill told her story: “She opened the door to her office to go down the stairwell and there was no stair or building there.

“She had to jump from her office building over to the other building, crawl across the roof and down the drain pipe to get away.

“She got down and went to her apartment and that had all been destroyed.

“Jane isn’t physically injured, but she can’t talk about what’s happened yet.”

An international effort has seen rescue teams from the UK, USA, China, Taiwan and Australia have arrived to help rescue victims.

Robert Goodwill MP said: “Specialist rescue teams went out there and if any request for aid is received I am sure we will do what we can to help them rebuild.”

Mr Mulgrew added: “The people are all so friendly and it has brought the neighbours together, but the city of Christchurch will never be the same again.”