Quake relief for Mayor’s daughter

Danielle and Paul Wigzell
Danielle and Paul Wigzell

THE daughter of St Annes’ Town Mayor Tony Ford had a narrow escape from the horrors of the devastating Christchurch earthquake.

Danielle Ford was on her honeymoon after being married in New Zealand and left the city just a matter of hours before the earthquake struck.

She and her new husband Paul, who were married on top of a mountain overlooking Lake Wanaka on Valentine’s Day, had originally been due to spend the day of the quake sightseeing and shopping in Christchurch, New Zealand’s second-biggest city.

But they moved their itinerary forward a day after being plagued by sand flies on their journey around the South Island’s West Coast.

“It was such a relief when we heard that Dani and Paul were safe,” said Coun Ford, who had attended the wedding with his wife Annette and was holidaying some 250 miles away from Christchurch when the quake happened.

Although born in West Sussex, Danielle came to St Annes in 1989 when her father took up the post of headteacher at Kirkham and Wesham County Primary School. She attended Mayfield Primary School before moving on to Lytham St Annes High School, where she was a prefect and ran the Young Enterprise Group during her time in the Sixth Form.

She graduated from the University of Northumbria and worked for Altrincham-based Cotton Traders before moving to Cornwall with partner Paul to set up her own internet marketing company.

Her husband is a toy and merchandising designer based in Newquay.

The pair, who live in Porthatown near Redruth, are continuing their honeymoon travelling round New Zealand’s North Island before visiting San Diego and Los Angeles on their return journey.

The earthquake, which measured 6.3 on the Richter Scale, left at least 65 people dead and hundreds injured, with a trail of devastation right across the city. More than 120 people were rescued from rubble and it was the country’s biggest natural disaster for 80 years.

Coun Ford, who returned home earlier this week, added that Annette’s sister Valerie, who lives about 100 miles from Christchurch, felt the quake and left her house and fled into the garden for safety when it struck.