Determined dad uses dinghy to fetch trampoline after Storm Ciara
Storm Ciara may have claimed yet another victim had it not been for the quick thinking of father-of-three Patrick Dowen.
Because after opening the curtains on the morning of his son's birthday he noticed the trampoline was missing from his back garden.
At first he thought they may have been targeted by thieves but following some more searching he eventually discovered it had travelled more than 100 yards over four garden fences, before eventually settling in the nearby canal.
Undeterred Patrick, 29, from Lower Farm, Bloxwich – who was just preparing to celebrate his son James' seventh birthday – decided to take matters into his own hands.
"I had to fetch the dinghy out the garage and it still even had sand in it from the last time we used it," said Patrick, who is married to Rachel and has two other children, Lilly, nine, and Alfie, three.
"It's just a little thing the kids play in but it was also my son's birthday and he a load of his friends coming round.
"We opened the curtains and it was one of those moments where I'm looking in the garden for a few seconds, thinking 'something doesn't look right'.
"Then I thought we'd been robbed but after remembering the storm we'd had I decided to search a few of the gardens.
"It must've flown about 100 metres over all theses fences before eventually gilding over the canal and settling in the water."
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After managing to secure the trampoline, Patrick then bought some rope and called for his father-in-law to help retrieve the trampoline.
"We managed to lift it over the gardens and back to our house but it's in need of a good jet wash," said Patrick, who works as system designs engineer.
"We just kind of ignored the storm for the rest of the day and still went out.
"The kids were happy to see the trampoline back in the garden, although they found it really funny it had ended up in the canal.
"My wife even called the local fire station to see if the would rescue it and they said, 'sorry we only rescue people'. They all found the situation funny too."
Storm Ciara swept across the country on Sunday and left thousands without power, while homes were evacuated, buildings were damaged and sporting fixtures postponed.
Gusts of up to 65mph were recorded in the West Midlands, with fallen trees and debris causing disruption on roads and railways while flights were disrupted at Birmingham Airport.
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