We’ve just recovered from the sizzling hot summer heatwave this year, which felt like it went on for years. But cast your mind back to a mere three or four months before the heatwave started and you may recall a very different picture of Britain than the tropical sunshine-soaked land we’ve been reveling in.
Yes, back in March, we were all but buried under a thick, crisp, cold blanket of snow. Cars got stuck, schools got closed, some people lost their minds entirely and wore shorts in the snow. The true scale of the Beast from the East was felt when the usually very reliable, punctual, and all-round backbone of Britain, the railway service, experienced delays and cancellations.
But where some of us only braved the snow in a mad panic to stock up on all the bread and milk to see us through the oncoming Armageddon (and several thereafter, if needs be), other people prioritised the most needy and vulnerable. stair lift manufacturer, Acorn Stairlifts, looks back on these displays of heroism.
Calling in the army
When rural areas of Lincolnshire became isolated by the snowfall, the police had to call in support from the RAF and the army. In total, 10 military vehicles from RAF Waddington were called in to provide a vital helping hand to vulnerable individuals who relied on adult social care. The assistance meant that resources by the police could be freed up so that they could remain focused on dealing with major incidents.
Speaking to Lincolnshire Live, Superintendent Phil Vickers, from Lincolnshire Police, commented: “We put the request into the military… and they decide amongst themselves what they can send out and deploy. The military have sent out 10 vehicles from RAF Waddington to help with efforts. They are focusing on getting out to vulnerable people who rely on adult and social care. 4X4 vehicles are also helping from the RAF and providing a level of support.”
Supporting the NHS
Edinburgh also called in the army to help the NHS. Throughout that city though, they used 4×4 vehicles provided by the Ministry of Defence, Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to assist in getting 200 NHS staff members to work. With NHS Scotland faced with a potentially critical situation due to the impact the storms were having on their staff’s ability to get to and from work, the army stepped up to support shift changes at both the Western General and Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh hospitals.
At the time, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson stated that: “Our Armed Forces stand ready to help as Britain is hit by severe weather.
“Our service personnel are showing great dedication and a spirited sense of duty as they support local authorities and keep people safe.”
Looking out for the North East
Those who work for the emergency services found help beyond the army too. In the north east of England, staff at car dealership and commercial Ford group Lookers Ford Sunderland showcased their kind-hearted nature by ferrying both NHS and emergency employees to and from work using capable vehicles from their business. Staff at the dealership even took time out of their own schedules to provide a helping hand, with commercial salesman Terence Kennedy pointing out to the Sunderland Echo that the team wanted to do as much as they could because “our NHS staff and emergency services do such a vital job and it’s so important that they are there to help people in their time of need”.
Mr Kennedy also said: “There’s a buzz around the dealership, and everyone is so positive about helping people out. We’re all up for the challenge and will do whatever we can. It’s a bit of a community spirit and we all want to help each other.”
The definition of determination
Through the snow and blizzards, a cancer surgeon braved a near-eight mile trek from Anniesland to Paisley in order to perform an operation on a cancer patient. While the surgeon remained unnamed in the Glasgow Live article covering the heroic effort, her colleague Andy Renwick commented to BBC Radio Scotland: She walked from Anniesland to Paisley – it took her two hours and 50 minutes. I saw her come in, she had snow goggles on. Gortexed up, top and bottom, snow shoes and walking poles.
“She is operating today on someone who has bowel cancer, she knew that had to be done and so she has made extra effort to get in here to make sure that was actually delivered.”
Mr Renwick also praised the staff at the hospital who remained overnight, without supplies or clean clothes to change into, so that they could help maintain the hospital while staff battled through the snow to turn up.
This is just a snapshot of the heroic tales and brave acts that were carried out during the reign of the Beast from the East. Our country is certainly one to be proud of when it comes to uniting in times of hardship.