While the summer scorcher might have melted away the stress and chaos felt earlier in the year, who could forget the Beast from the East? The cold snap threatened to cripple the country earlier in 2018, with a blanket of thick snow, ice, and blizzards gripping us all.
The Met Office issued a red warning for only the third time ever, and many schools closed. Drivers were stranded on the roads, flights were disrupted, and those travelling by rail were greeted with, well, the usual delays and cancellations.
It was certainly an unforgiving storm, as sadly, some even lost their lives to the bitter cold and extreme weather. But Britain stood firm through the Beast’s assault, and a few people even went above and beyond to help out others. Disabled stairlifts manufacturer, Acorn Stairlifts, looks back on how Britain supported those in need through the storm’s might.
Some rural areas of Lincolnshire were cut off by the heavy snowfall, and the police’s resources were running thin. They turned to the army and RAF for support. 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.
Lincolnshire Police’s Superintendent Phil Vickers, said to Lincolnshire Live: “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.”
NHS and the army
The army was also brought in to help NHS staff in Edinburgh. 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.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson spoke regarding the situation: “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.”
Lookers Ford looks out for the North East
It wasn’t just the army offering transport options. 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 noted that: “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.”
Come Hell or high snow!
In Scotland, a cancer surgeon walked for nearly eight miles from Anniesland to Paisley to perform surgery 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 acknowledged the staff at the hospital who remained overnight, even without basic necessities like a change of clothing or supplies, in order to help as more staff struggled through the snow to get in.
There were so many more stories of bravery and heroism during the Beast from the East. It just goes to show how strong the country really is when we are united.