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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Extreme Cumbria snowfall causes chaos

A MAN who was trapped in his car for six hours was just one of hundreds of people affected by extreme snow this weekend.

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Click here to watch videos filmed by the Bay Search and Rescue team over the weekend

In some places, there were reports of snow as deep as 20ft along the A595 as the appalling conditions struck in the Millom, Bootle, Waberthwaite and Askam, Ireleth and Kirkby areas on Friday and Saturday.

One driver, Terry Harvey-Chadwick, was on his way from his Seascale home to Newbarns Primary School in Barrow to give a talk when he got trapped by snow.

He spent six hours in his car on Friday before he was freed by mountain rescue teams at around 1pm and taken to safety.

He said: “I had a waterproof coat but no gloves or anything and the vehicle I needed to get to was nearly a quarter of a mile away. I had to walk through the blizzard and the snow was up to my waist – I was sinking right through it.”

Despite being one of the fortunate ones to make it home on Friday, Mr Harvey-Chadwick’s car was still stuck just south of Waberthwaite on Sunday as rescue teams battled to clear the route.

Meanwhile, a Waberthwaite publican opened his doors to those in need of a place to stay on Friday night – even though he was struggling with the effects of a snow-induced power cut.

Phil Chapman had around a dozen people at the Brown Cow Inn, beside the A595, as they waited patiently for the roads to be cleared.

Speaking on Saturday, while there was still 8ft of snow outside the pub, the landlord said people were huddled in front of the fire and making the best of the situation – despite the power going off at around 4pm on Friday. He said: “We can’t go anywhere – we are completely trapped.”

The road outside was still closed yesterday afternoon but emergency services had been able to clear the snow enough to escort stranded motorists out of the village.

Hotel owners in Millom were overwhelmed by dozens of people desperate for rooms during the freak weather.

John Fearnley, owner of The Cambridge House Hotel, Cambridge Street, said he had no guests booked ahead of Friday night, but ended up having to turn people away.

He said: “People started coming in from about 12pm to 1pm. In the morning it wasn’t that bad. I was up about 6.30am and it was snowing but it wasn’t sticking, and then it just got thicker.”

Mr Fearnley said one woman called his hotel asking for 12 rooms, and he also received phone calls from police officers and Bay Search and Rescue team members looking for a bed after midnight on Friday

“We couldn’t fit them in on Friday but we had a few guys from The Bay Search and Rescue on Saturday. They said they had been sleeping on the floor of Millom Fire Station the previous night.”

Sue Day, owner of the Pavilion Guest House in Duke Street, was also overwhelmed with stranded travellers desperate for rooms.

She said: “I have been here around 10 years now and I have never seen anything this bad. I was having to ring around other hotels to find room for people.”

Edward Mudd, 39, from Burlington Close, in Kirkby, helped to dig two vehicles from snow drifts on the A595 near Burlington School. He said: “I saw a Facebook post from Kerry Brown asking if anyone had a tractor to dig out her partner’s car. I replied saying I would help.”

Ms Brown’s partner Mike Osborne had abandoned his car and walked to his home in Kirkby on Saturday morning.

Mr Mudd and Mr Osborne returned and battled strong winds and drifting snow for an hour-and-a-quarter to free the vehicle armed with only a shovel. “When we first got there we dug one side of the car free, by the time we tried to dig the other side the wind had blown the snow back. We came back a bit later and a digger had created a bit of a track so we managed to dig it out. I think you have got to help the community out at times like this,” said Mr Mudd.

Burlington Primary School at Kirkby remained closed today.

Have your say

Phil Chapman is a good mate of mine. He has always been a great, generous guy. Would expect nothing less from him in a situation like this. Well done Phil.

Posted by Simon Ellis on 27 March 2013 at 23:16

I was in the van in front of the car that Terry Harvey-Chadwic was in as seen on photo 37 that he had taken.
Thankyou to ALL the rescue teams/police and copeland council for rescuing us and looking after us.

Posted by paul on 25 March 2013 at 15:42

View all 17 comments on this article

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