Community spirit shines through

Hero farmers John Clark,  Ben Spridgen and Chad Kingham.
Hero farmers John Clark, Ben Spridgen and Chad Kingham.
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While the ‘Beast from the East’ forced school closures, left some villages isolated and impacted on public services – it also highlighted the sheer community spirit as people pulled together to help each other.

There were those offering to pick up medication to people who couldn’t get out, others who delivered meals to those cut off and emergency services working around the clock to respond to calls.

The county council’s gritters were out in force and farmers took to the roads in tractors supporting our emergency services by rescuing people caught in snow drifts or who had been forced off the road by the horrendous weather.

Chief Superintendent Paul Timmins, East Area Divisional Commander for Lincolnshire Police, praised the work by the farming community to help people stranded.

He said: “Without prompting, we have seen tractors pulling vehicles out of snow drifts, snow ploughs reaching communities, volunteers with shovels digging routes through to help strangers and farmers standing shoulder-to-shoulder with emergency service personnel responding to the most vulnerable. In times of need our community pulls together like no other.”

Farmer John Clark, of Beech Tree Farms at Gosberton, who also sits on the parish council, was one of those helping clear heavy snow drifts on the A152 between Surfleet and Gosberton on Thursday.

He also towed a jack knifed lorry off the A16, near Algarkirk early Friday morning, after it was caught in snowdrifts, and rescued 18 lorries on Wednesday night alone.

Friends, including workers at Proctor Brothers near Surfleet and Bratley’s at Quadring Eaudyke, helped him clear the roads and rescue vehicles with teleporters and snow ploughs.

John said on Friday: “We’ve been driving around the roads in tractors looking to help people who are stuck. We dug out one car with a teleporter off the link road near Surfleet. They had a young child in the back but they lived nearby and managed to walk home. That was at about 9pm at night.

“We also pulled out a taxi that was stuck, with one of the passengers a young child.

“What amazed us is people who were still going out in the snow. One car was stuck from our village (Gosberton). The driver had been going out to Morrisons at 6pm.”

Farmer Andrew Jackson, of Halifax Farm in Quadring Bank, put a message out on Facebook that he was out in Quadring with a tractor and chains should anyone need him.

‘If emergency services need my help please shout,’ he posted.

On Friday, he said he’d helped 15 drivers over the week including people in cars, two 4x4s and transit vans.

He told the Lincolnshire Free Press: “The first one was on Monday when we had some snow in Gosberton and Quadring. A car went off the road.

“Most of the people I’ve helped have been caught in snow drifts. The wind has been blowing the snow off the fields and causing the drifts.

“I’ve come across people trying to dig themselves out and have helped them out using the tractor and chain.”

And Jonathon Turner and his son Luke from Barr Farm in Deeping St Nicholas, got a phone call from a resident out at Hop Pole, between the village and Spalding, to say a stranded lorry was blocking Main Road at 8pm on Thursday.

“I called the police to find out if it was okay to go out and they said any help was good,” Jonathon said.

“We went out in a JCB Telehandler each to clear the snow and managed to dig the lorry free, then pull it out.

“An ambulance was also caught up behind the lorry with its lights on, trying to get through. The lorry driver was ever so thankful. It was a Tesco lorry and he came out with the line ‘Every Little Helps.

“The police came back and said thanks very much.”

First Responders Louise and Nicola O’Connor, from Gosberton, are from medical emergency charity LIVES and the team were ready to respond on foot where possible, with responders standing by and covering the area.

Louise said they’d also had a 4x4 provided from contractors F&E Ltd in case it was needed to help them respond to emergencies.

And Faith Pearson, who owns the Unicorn Diner in Long Sutton, was out delivering low cost meals to people who were cut off and struggling to get out and about.

She said: “I don’t normally deliver but because of the weather I wanted to go out and help. It’s not that big a deal. It is something that I wanted to do. When I set up the diner it was to watch out for the community.”

On Friday Faith was out in her Toyota delivering full roast dinners and desserts to people who hadn’t been able to get out of their homes due to the weather.