What wonderful neighbours we have!

March 27 2018

DOWNEND saw more snow in March than it has seen in the past five winters at least.

DOWNEND saw more snow in March than it has seen in the past five winters at least. 

It was inconvenient and at times dangerous, although of course it also produced some beautiful scenes and a lot of fun for children, teenagers and the young at heart.

But now that it has all melted (we hope!) the lasting memory is of the many tales of community spirit and of people going out of their way to help others.

In Bromley Heath, several 4 x4 drivers offered their services in the first and worst snowfall to transport NHS staff to work at local hospitals and other mercy missions. Among the volunteers were Mark Langmead, Kev Richards, Kelly Matharu and Julian Evans.

One woman expressed her gratitude for a lift to Southmead Hospital, where she was able to be with her husband during his last hours. A poorly child was also taken with a parent to hospital and Sophia Gibbs-Foyle and Rish Shellard were driven into Bristol for voluntary work with a homelessness charity.

Sophia said: “Without these guys two night shelters would have not opened as other volunteers were not able to get there - definitely my heroes.”

Facebook message boards including Heathboard, Staple Hill and Mangotsfield Residents and Lyde Green online came into their own as a way of sharing information - as well as updates on the empty bread and mil shelves in food stores.

South Gloucestershire Council has formally thanked residents who helped others in the wake of Storm Emma and the Beast from the East.

In a statement issued by the three group leaders, Councillors Matthew Riddle, Ruth Davis and Pat Rooney said: “On behalf of the council we would like to extend our thanks to the people with 4 x 4 vehicles who volunteered their time to help others get about following the heavy snowfall at the beginning of the month.

“Their response to calls from the local NHS for 4 x 4 drivers to help get patients and healthcare professionals to where they needed to go demonstrated a tremendous community spirit in South Gloucestershire.

“And thank you to council staff for their efforts in keeping the majority of services running despite the sub-zero temperatures. Whether it was delivering community meals, making sure essential care continued to be delivered to people in need or getting the district’s roads gritted, we appreciate the commitment shown to keep South Gloucestershire moving.”

Fun and frolics in Leap Valley, by Bruce Gibbs of Lincombe Barn Camera Club. More snow photos: Pages 68 and 69