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Primary school and leisure centre shut after lightning strike

Eyewitnesses in Yateley described the area being lit up in "blinding white" before the "loudest thunder" they had ever heard

David Garwood
The scene of the lightning strike at Potley Hill Primary School

A primary school and leisure centre in Yateley were shut following a lightning strike on Tuesday afternoon.

A tree and a building roof at Potley Hill Primary School were both hit, while neighbouring Frogmore Leisure Centre was also affected.

The Potley Hill Road school sent all its pupils home for the day.

A message on its website read: "Due to a lightning strike to the roof and the oak tree outside, we are closing the school while checks are made to ensure the building is safe. 

"Would parents please collect their children from the entrance as soon as possible.  More information will follow as soon as we have it. Thank you for your patience and understanding."

Hampshire County Council said the tree was positioned outside a Year 1 classroom, but all the children were safe inside when it was struck.

A spokesman for Frogmore Leisure Centre said: "Early this afternoon lightning struck a tree resulting in the school being closed.

"This lightning strike subsequently damaged Frogmore Leisure Centre's fire control panel resulting in an electrical issue and the centre currently being closed."

David Garwood
The tree was split down the middle by the lightning strike
 

A spokesman for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "Crews from Yateley and Hartley Wintney went to the leisure centre at approximately 12.56pm.

"There was no fire but a power surge had caused the automatic fire alarm to activate.

"They stayed on the scene until 2.52pm to make sure everything was OK."

Kelly Friend, who works in Blackbushe Business Park in Yateley, described the moment the lightning struck.

"My colleague and I had gone to The Royal Oak for lunch and we’d just got our food when the lightning struck," she said.

"It lit up the pub in blinding white and about a micro-second after that there was the loudest thunder I had ever heard in my life.

"Everyone in the pub must have jumped about a foot in the air and our plates were pretty much vibrating along the table.

"The pub is right by the fire station and we saw a truck heading out only a couple of minutes later so we figured somewhere had been hit by it."

 
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