Rain wreaks havoc at charity HQ

RAIN is wreaking havoc on the headquarters of a charity and several businesses after last week’s storm tore the roof off the building.

Water is now pouring into the warehouse in Chartwell Road, Lancing, destroying the ceilings and ruining stock and equipment.

W45145H13 ''Freddysmile children's charity has been forced to close as water pours through the building

W45145H13 ''Freddysmile children's charity has been forced to close as water pours through the building

Children’s cancer charity Freddysmile stands to lose thousands of pounds in lost revenue and Deelights candelmakers has been forced to abandon the top floor of the building.

Freddysmile’s first-floor warehouse has sprung more than 100 leaks and dripping water is collapsing the ceiling.

The charity’s bosses have been forced to close the warehouse and turn customers away.

Co-founder Kelly Street said: “We are absolutely gutted. I don’t know where we go from here. Everything’s covered in stagnant water. We have customers left right and centre trying to come in and we can’t open.”

Kelly said the charity had recently bought a new caravan for the families of sick children to use, and now had no way of raising the £30,000 it needed to pay for it.

“I haven’t a clue what we are going to do,” she said.

Water pouring through the building has soaked into the 3ft fibreglass ceiling panels which are acting like sponges. When they become too heavy for the ceiling to hold, they come crashing down.

One of the heavy saturated panels landed on trustee Carol Parker.

She said: “I was just walking through to get a coffee and the tile just went and all this water landed on me.

“It was such a shock, I was crying.”

Carol said it was lucky the tile had not hit a customer, or even a child.

“We are not sure which one is going to come down next,” she said.

Warren and Kelly estimate the cost of the damage could total as much as £50,000.

“It’s leaking here, there and everywhere. We are just absolutely heartbroken at the moment,” Warren said.

Dee Bray runs Deelights candelmakers in the building’s top floor, where the damage was even worse.

“There is glass everywhere, all the lights have come down, it’s so disheartening and frustrating,” Dee said.

“I’m standing on a pile of rubble. Everywhere I look I just keep seeing more and more damage.”

Dee said she relied on profits made in the run-up to Christmas to get through the rest of the year.

“We make candles so this is our busiest time of year,” she said.

“I’m just grateful we had nobody in this morning.”

Dee said she would have to go back to making candles in the corner of her kitchen, where she started her business, until the damage was repaired.

The building’s owner, Francis Kang, said: “For anyone who experiences this for the first time, it’s alarming. I’m worried about the people who have their lives and businesses here.

“Most of us here have had quite a lot of sleepless nights worrying about the people who are suffering from this.”

Storm St Jude tore the roof off the warehouse last Monday and dumped it on Warren and Kelly’s cars, crushing them.