Thursday, January 17, 2013
The snow may yet linger on for a few more days – but our hearts have been melted by the many tales of kind-hearted actions as the winter white-out took hold.
It would appear that the winter weather has brought out the best of Norwich folk, who rallied round to support strangers in need – despite being frustrated by the problems they faced.
From helping motorists who were stuck in the snow, handing out cups of tea to complete strangers, to pushing vehicles up hills, dozens of stories have emerged of snow heroes went out of their way to help others when the weather took hold on Tuesday.
Today, the Bishop of Norwich, Graham James, praised people for their kindness, as he said: “We’re often told how in the Second World War there was a great spirit of friendship and neighbourliness in our nation and Tuesday’s terrible weather in Norfolk re-created that spirit. Strangers went out of their way to help each other. Kindness and concern was unforced.
“We sometimes imagine our society is less caring than it was. Tuesday showed our best instincts are still secure.”
In one example Norwich mum Sarah Pye, pictured, was stranded on Recorder Road, off Prince of Wales Road, on Tuesday evening after her car broke down.
Mrs Pye had been to Morrisons with her husband, Dan, and their son, Charlie, who will be two next month.
The 30-year-old sales administrator said: “The car just stopped – I think Dan must have stalled because there was no grip. We were in the middle of the road.
“A man appeared and said he had a courtesy car - it was tiny, it was probably about the same size as a Smart car. He cleared the snow from it and parked it near our car to help us jump start it.”
They drove to Kwik Fit where they bought a new battery for the car.
She added: “It was really nice of the man to help us - some other people pulled up in a Transit and offered to push us. We would have been stuck for a long time if it wasn’t for the man who jump started our car.”
Slimming World consultant Sammy Dunthorne swapped her car for her daughters’ sledge to make sure she could attend her meeting on Tuesday night.
Determined not to let the slimmers down, Miss Dunthorne hauled a plastic sledge from her car, piled her laptop, slimming magazines, scales and supplied of hot drinks onto it and walked half an hour to Queen’s Hills Primary School where she holds her weekly meetings.
Miss Dunthorne, 24, who lives in Bahram Road, Queen’s Hills, with her partner, Adam Adcock and their daughters, Alexi, four, and Kelsi, two, said: “It was worth it because one of our members lost 14lbs in their first week.
“The pavement was really slippery and icy. The walk would normally take me about five minutes five minutes but on Tuesday it took half an hour.”
Community spirit shone through as people in their masses pitched in to help drivers in the city who struggled to cope with the heavy snowfall.
Office worker Kirsty Arnold was on her lunch break when she saw the cars getting stuck by Caste Mall.
The 23-year-old helped a group of around six passers-by to push cars up the top of the hill on Rose Lane at around 1.45pm.
But after helping around five cars, the group were faced with their biggest challenge - a struggling bus.
“It had just stopped snowing but it was getting really icy,” she said. “I got really tired pushing the bus.”
At Norfolk County Council’s environment, transport and development overview and scrutiny panel meeting yesterday, councillors highlighted groups - including bus and coach drivers, police, gritter drivers and care staff - who had helped people during the bad weather.
Karen Knight, managing director of Norse Care, said: “Our staff have done an excellent job making sure our residents have continued to receive their care and support during the bad weather. This has not been an easy time for anyone travelling to work so I thank staff for their ongoing efforts.”
Simon Wright, Norwich South MP said it was important that people looked out for each other.
“It’s good to hear these stories about people who are doing their best to help those in trouble,” he said. “In Norfolk we have a strong sense of community spirit, people do watch out for each other.”
Norwich North MP, Chloe Smith, thanked people for helping their neighbours.
“Everybody focuses on how the snow can cause havoc but it’s so good to see that in a city like Norwich, people are helping each other.
“I know lots of people who have helped their neighbours and employers who have been flexible about people getting into work.
“There have been some outstanding examples such as people pushing the bus up Rose Lane in Norwich.”
Bert Bremner, a Norfolk county councillor and Norwich city council’s cabinet member for environment and development, said one example of community-spirited action has inspired him to find out whether the city could make more use of its volunteer heroes in the future.
Like countless other motorists, Mr Bremner endured a torrid journey through the city during Tuesday’s snowfall, as he drove back on icy roads from a meeting in Thorpe.
But he said he found a clear route home thanks to the efforts of people who had taken it upon themselves to spread sand from a yellow grit bin along Portland Street, off Unthank Road.
Now he hopes to ask his fellow city councillors whether any funds could be released for more grit bins in the city, to help public-spirited people to assist their neighbours.
“These people were amazingly good citizens,” he said. “This is what communities are all about, and we need more of it.”
Were you helped by a complete stranger in the snow? Contact Lucy Wright on 01603 772439 or email email@example.com
Examples of good deeds:
Beany_101: I helped push a Mercedes up Dussindale drive.
TomBuckham: Dereham road backed up last night but saw people from adjacent roads going from car to car with hot tea for motorists.
AndyHead02: Was stuck in Rose Lane yesterday and group of lovely people basically pushed my Vauxhall Zafira up past the mall. #heroes
Betsy_Hatter: Just want to say thank you to the lovely man who helped me over a very icy bit of pavement. I would have fallen if he hadn’t stopped.
gudfela5: i was pushed up Rose Lane. Wasn’t moving but when mentioned picking up my 7 week old the effort was huge!
SarahBoydH: Big thanks to the bus driver near the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital who kindly took a stranded man on a mobility wheelchair onto his out of service bus