Praise for emergency staff who helped others have a happy Christmas

POLICE, fire crews, council staff and volunteers from the Bicester area have all been praised for going beyond the call of duty during the recent dreadful weather conditions.

Highways staff, police, care workers, firefighters, local farmers and other volunteers have helped keep roads open, rescued ambulances stuck in snow, and reached the most vulnerable residents left stranded in freezing temperatures.

Social services workers were able to reach elderly and disabled people with help from firefighters and volunteer drivers in 4x4 vehicles.

Ardley resident Caroline Hodges said: “If it wasn’t for them my father would have been stuck with nothing. He is paralysed from the waist downwards and bedridden so he is totally dependent on carers.

“If it hadn’t been for the help from the team I don’t know what we would have done, I was incredibly worried. They were so nice and helpful and l can’t thank them enough.”

Help also included taking doctors and nurses to hospital and delivering medicines to housebound residents.

Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) cabinet member Ian Hudspeth said: “This is a great example of the dedication of our staff and their willingness to go the extra mile – in many cases literally – when the challenge arises.

“I’d like to put on record my thanks for their ongoing efforts.”

Some local Thames Valley Police officers were also praised by lorry drivers for helping dig HGVs out of the snow on the A34 near Bicester.

One of the officers who came to the aid of stranded truckers, PC Laura Jones, said: “Helping the community is what neighbourhood policing is all about and we felt this was the best use of our time.

“Some of the drivers were from Germany and Poland and were really appreciative of what we were doing and thanked us for the help we gave them. I think they expected to be stranded for longer than they were.”

Volunteers from OCC’s Countryside Service also recovered stranded vehicles, including two ambulances, and local farmers played a key role in clearing snow from rural roads.