Topic: Kerry's experience

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On February 22nd I was in the Brighton Surf club, on the second story, with my seven-year-old daughter and her class, and another class, from Avonhead School. We were doing a beach education programme with the surf lifesavers, and had been in the water for the hour from 11 - 12. It was a cold wet day, and we had come in for hot showers and to get changed.

 On February 22nd I was in the Brighton Surf club, on the second story, with my seven-year-old daughter and her class, and another class, from Avonhead School.  We were doing a beach education programme with the surf lifesavers, and had been in the water for the hour from 11 - 12. It was a cold wet day, and we had come in for hot showers and to get changed.  When the earthquake struck at 12:50 we were sitting on the floor on the second story, eating our lunch from lunch boxes. Suddenly it was shaking.  At first my daughter and I were going to ignore it, as we usually did the other aftershocks.  Then it carried on, and was obviously bigger than anything we had felt before.  "Turtles" I shouted at her, and we both changed into turtle position. One of the teachers came and stood with her hands on our backs.  I think the other children who had been sitting around us had started to the walls, and many were crowded into the top of the stairwell. I was scared they would fall down the stairs. The shaking was huge. I thought something would fall on us, but luckily the building was fairly bare, and held together.  I heard one girl crying.
Once the shaking had stopped, the life guards said we were all going outside.  We file down the steps, and sat in the carpark. Many children were crying, and huddled into little groups around each parent and teacher. Every aftershock bounced around the cars near us, and we moved across to the park next door. A dog raced through, looking confused. Some of the kids were scared and upset, and some excited. There was not much cell activity, so the teachers couldn't contact the school, and noone could call home. Eventually a text came through that the Cathedral was down, and that came as a shock to us. We left in groups, to drive back to school.  The parent before me came back as I was about to leave, saying the road we were planning to take was closed due to liqifaction. After that we all left together in convoy, incase we had to change our route on the way back. It was a slow drive across town back to school. I had four kids in my car. We went north towards QEII,and saw a car stuck in a sink hole, liquifaction, cracks in the road, and people coming out of their houses to sit, dazed, on the birm. I had to stop in QEII while two of the kids waded through silt to pee behind a tree, because we didn't know where to find a toilet. We eventually got back to school at 2:50, where the heads of school and syndicate were waiting to sign in the kids. Having got them safely back to school we headed to my mums, where she was minded my 2-year-old, and also found my husband there. He had walked in from the university. I think the power was still off at that stage. It is a day I will never forget.

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