Storm doesn't spoil the party

PUBLISHED: 12:28 27 July 2006 | UPDATED: 11:56 04 May 2010

RESILIENT:Deflated but not defeated. Simon Webb with his wrecked marquee. Photo: SUPPLIED

RESILIENT:Deflated but not defeated. Simon Webb with his wrecked marquee. Photo: SUPPLIED

CAPTAIN Cowboy, aka Simon Webb, turned superhero to save his 21st birthday party on Saturday when a violent storm and flash flood threatened to wreck his well-laid plans. Just 30 minutes before guests were due to arrive at his Stuntney home, floodwater sm

CAPTAIN Cowboy, aka Simon Webb, turned superhero to save his 21st birthday party on Saturday when a violent storm and flash flood threatened to wreck his well-laid plans.

Just 30 minutes before guests were due to arrive at his Stuntney home, floodwater smashed through the marquee and left food and Simon's childhood photos floating across the garden.

As the storm raged, Simon, who dressed as the 1920s silent movie hero, Captain Cowboy, for the party, raced into action.

But as he discarded his shoes to wade into the floodwater he speared his foot with glass from lights which had shattered in the storm.

Undeterred by his injury and with the help of his family and guests who had started to arrive, he worked to save the party.

Simon had been upstairs in the family's home adding the finishing touches to his speech when disaster struck, flooding the bathroom and wrecking the garden party plans.

His parents, Ely Magistrates' Court usher, Penni, and David, plus Simon's brother Alexander, 12, were inside the marquee putting the finishing touches to his party when the rain poured in through the roof.

Tent poles crashed down, narrowly missing David's head, and Simon's childhood photos and pre-dinner snacks laid out on a table were hurled into the rising floodwater.

Fairy lights and floodlights were destroyed and Simon's stereo system was thrown into the water. Table cloths lay in mud and carpet was soaking as an inch-and-a-half of rain fell.

"It all happened so suddenly," said Simon. "Within a few minutes the water was a foot or two deep. We were bailing out water from the marquee with rubbish bins. We had planned a nice lighting effect but one of the floodlights blew and the fairy lights were snapped in half."

Guests rallied round and spent 90 minutes rebuilding the marquee and using fans to dry the carpet.

The giant tent had been used the previous day by Simon's sister, Catriona, to host her 18th birthday party.

The next morning she spent an hour creating intricate table decorations for her brother's birthday while her family decked out the marquee. They planned to follow a sit-down meal for relatives and friends with a fancy dress party for a further 50 guests.

Penni, said: "There was a big gust of wind and a violent thunderstorm and a corner of the marquee collapsed.

"The carpet was completely covered in mud and the tablecloths were on the floor. We were towelling down the chairs. But we just had to soldier on."

"I had a brilliant time," added Simon. "But my mum was the real hero of the day. She held it all together, cooked all the food and the party was brilliant.

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