Fallen tree crashes into philanthropist's garden

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Land Authority has taken action after a tree more than two-storeys high toppled onto an elderly philanthropist's property from state land.

Mrs Pamela Hickley, 94, was in her Bukit Timah bungalow when the Albizia crashed into her garden on Sunday afternoon, crushing a fence and plants.

Mrs Hickley was private secretary to the late Sir William Goode, Singapore's last British Governor. She set up the Singapore Cheshire Home and donated artefacts to the Asian Civilisations Museum.

Nobody was hurt and the tree fell even though there was no wind. "It was quite scary," said her domestic helper Lucia Bagoyo, 36. "There was a loud crash and I rushed outside to see what happened."

Another Albizia tree also fell, but not onto the property on Swiss Club Lane. The SLA told The Straits Times the species has a "brittle wood structure and shallow root systems". It has instructed a contractor to clear the fallen trees and will follow up on reinstating the fence and garden.

But Mrs Hickley's goddaughter Dorothy Chan, 53, urged the SLA to do more about other trees on the plot of state land.

The retired lawyer said: "What is going to be done to the other trees on the slope? This is a real concern as it can be very dangerous when it rains. The trees were tall enough to strike the home if they had not fallen into a corner. What if Mrs Hickley had been taking a walk?"

Last month, a tree fell on a home of Mrs Hickley's neighbour on a windless day.

The authority receives about 70 reports of fallen trees a year.

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.