A GREENOCK sister and brother have paid a moving tribute to their dad who was killed in a deadly storm 50 years ago when a chimney collapsed and fell on him as he slept.
Sugar warehouse worker Hugh Bryce died in his bed, with his arm around his wife Rachel and his five-year-old son Steven, who both miraculously cheated death.
They lived in a top floor flat in Cardross Road, now Kilcreggan View, in Greenock when Hurricane Low Q struck.
On that fateful night in January 15 1968 the storm, which had been heading out to sea, suddenly changed direction.
It ripped across Inverclyde and caused the chimney stack to crash down.
Hugh’s son Steven and older sister Susan today relived the horrors of that night and the lasting impact it had on their lives.
Steven, who lives in Cathcart Buildings, said: “We were all trapped in the bed until the firemen came to rescue us.
“Somehow my mum and I survived — I don’t know how.
“The firemen came and the Salvation Army took us in.
“I used to come into my mum and dad’s bed. When the chimney came down it hit the bedroom.”
His big sister Susan, who was 11 at the time, had stayed the night with her gran in Renton Road.
Susan, who is 62 and lives in Kylemore Terrace, said: “I had stayed there that night because my friends lived in the same street. I remember getting woken up at about 3am by my uncle coming to tell us what happened.
“Later we were told that my dad was found with his arm round my mum and Steven.”
Hughie, as he was known, was happily married to Rachel and was devoted to his young family.
Susan said: “What happened affected our whole lives.
“My mum never, ever got over my dad’s death.
“She was only young when he died.
“They were together from school and were always with each other, going out for walks.
“It was hard for her after my dad died and she used to be terrified in January when there were high winds.
“We had to look after her — Steven and I were all she had after that.
Rachel passed away in 2002 at the age of 69.
Steven said: “My mum used to clean in the houses in the west end and in the schools to put food on the table for us and clothes on our backs.”
Former yard worker Hughie, who was a crane driver, was a well known local footballer and big Morton fan.
Steven, who is a council gardener, said: “I feel like I never got the chance to know my dad and do father and son things like go to the football with him.
“All the kids in the street loved him.
“He used to take them to the park to play on a Sunday morning and then in the afternoon he would play football with the adults.”
Susan added: “Sometimes when I see men my dad’s age I will speak to them and ask if they remember my dad.
“They always remember Hughie Bryce, he was so well known locally.
“He was a great dad and had a such a lovely nature.”
A recent film and today’s 50th anniversary of the storm have brought memories flooding back for the family but Hughie is always in their thoughts.
He is also lovingly remembered by his younger sister Peggy.
Steven, now 55, said: “We think about him all the time.”
Susan said: “The anniversary will pass quietly, we will go to the cemetery.”
Source : GreenockTelegraph