They are the unsung heroes who help to keep Norfolk and Suffolk moving during freezing conditions.

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For when nurses or ambulance staff are unable to get to work, or cars are blocking main roads, 50 men and women jump into their 4x4s and ride to the rescue.

From the “control room” - a kitchen table at Waxham - the members of Norfolk and Suffolk 4x4 Response are despatched across the two counties to lend a helping hand.

And the last few days have been among the busiest of their 14 years in existence, with members ferrying 66 people to and from work - mainly at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital - taking patients to hospital and towing away stranded cars.

One of the members, Jim Whiteside from Happisburgh, said: “We feel a need to contribute to the community. But in truth, what we do is piffling.

“It’s a wonderful excuse for us to go out and play in our 4x4s. We almost feel guilty about how much fun we have while helping Norfolk and Suffolk recover from a crisis.”

Norfolk and Suffolk 4x4 Response is not the only team on standby in the two counties. Others ready to ride to the rescue are Breckland Rover Rescue and Suffolk Rover Rescue.

Mr Whiteside said: “We work very closely together. At times like this, it shows that well-meaning volunteers can be useful to emergency services, which occasionally need 4x4 vehicles to help out.”

He first got involved 25 years ago when, as a young member of Breckland Land Rover Club, he joined Breckland Rover Rescue.

Mr Whiteside added that Norfolk was the first place to set up a 4x4 response team, and there were now 30 groups across England.

“There is somebody available 24/7 to respond to calls. We have 60 members across Norfolk and Suffolk, including 50 with vehicles and 10 who help with logistics and events.

“Places like the ambulance HQ and the N&N rely on their staff getting to work in their own vehicles. It doesn’t take much to stop a normal car.

“When snow falls, we normally expect a dozen or so calls to help people get to and from work. This time the demand has been exceptional.”

● See www.4x4response.net

8 comments

  • if it wasnt for the sandal wearing green enviromentalists a 4x4 and the running costs would be in reach of most of us. If i saw a grren party member stuck in the snow i would wave as i drove past...

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    smalltownboy

    Thursday, January 17, 2013

  • Would like to also thank all the men and women (my husband being one of them!) who have been on call all week driving round Norfolk and Suffolk till the early hours fixing peoples gas so they can have heating etc, there are many unsung heroes out there who whilst the rest of us are moaning about the roads etc seem to battle their way through.

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    Queenie

    Thursday, January 17, 2013

  • Ingo. 4x4s are taxed at a MUCH higher rate than other cars. My Land Rover Defender was £460 a year in road tax. I also paid a fortune in tax on fuel as it would only do 30mpg. It was a necessity, and these green ecomentalists seem to forget this. Now it has been sold, my Ford Fiesta is £20 a year to tax and does 60mpg. However, I won't be recovering any stuck people this winter. Nor will I be taking my partner to work. Nor will I be taking my elderly neighbours shopping. Well done to the greens.

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    Lord Elf

    Friday, January 18, 2013

  • touche...its just that some of us need a 4x4 out in the sticks and the chelsea tractor brigade has made it too expensive. There should be concessions based on circumstances.

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    smalltownboy

    Thursday, January 17, 2013

  • if it wasnt for the sandal wearing green enviromentalists a 4x4 and the running costs would be in reach of most of us. If i saw a grren party member stuck in the snow i would wave as i drove past...

    Report this comment

    smalltownboy

    Thursday, January 17, 2013

  • Can I offer a small caveat to all this 4WD discussion? A Landrover Defender has two factors in its favour. 1) 4WD 2) High ground clearance. The members of Norfolk and Suffolk 4x4 Response doubtless have the three remaining necessary factors. 3) Snow chains andor off-road tires 4) Sundry bits of equipment 5) The ability to drive on difficult surfaces. The importance of 5 should not be underestimated. So for all those aspiring superheros with off-the-peg Chelsea Tractors, and those who think such things are just what you need in snow, a bit of advice; leave it parked. A large heavy vehicle on road tires will get out of control horrifically quickly in snow. The people in the article know how to equip and use their vehicles. To them I say, “Well done!”

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    The Fortean

    Friday, January 18, 2013

  • The story is about unsung heroes not an article about 4x4's. What would we all do without the ambulance and nursing personnel? Its wonderful that people like the Norfolk & Suffolk 4x4 response team are there doing this for all of us in Norfolk and Suffolk

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    Mrs Meldrew

    Thursday, January 17, 2013

  • smalltownboy indeed, are you claiming that rising fuel prices are down to Greens? get a grip man and read up about the history of petroleum abstraction and who controls what strings. If I would meet a cantreadwon't read Yokel wasting fuel in his 4x4 I would wave back, with my purse. No offence.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, January 17, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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