Snow angels: Edinburgh heroes dig deep during big freeze

Passers-by help push a motorist stuck in Dalkeith. 'Picture: Ian Rutherford
Passers-by help push a motorist stuck in Dalkeith. 'Picture: Ian Rutherford
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AS the snow fell and mercury plunged, Edinburgh and the Lothians stood tall. Communities rallied together, individuals went above and beyond, each and every one becoming angels of the snow.

In QUEENSFERRY stories of how neighbours grabbed shovels and brushes to clear a path so one PREGNANT woman could head to hospital to have her child.

Usman Khan from Tescos on Princes Street donated food and drink to 24hr drop in shelter at St John's church

Usman Khan from Tescos on Princes Street donated food and drink to 24hr drop in shelter at St John's church

And how midwife AMANDA BROOKS set off from home in East Kilbride on Wednesday afternoon – her day off – for a shift with NHS Lothian. It took her six hours to crawl along the M8, arriving 12 1/2 hours early for her day shift. Then she slept where she stopped, ready to start again at first light.

“I just knew I had to try and make my way through. The drive was a bit scary – but I got a huge hug from all my colleagues when I arrived,” she said.

“I packed a wee overnight bag and lots of us slept over last night as well.

“All the staff have pulled together.”

Ceilidh McBain from Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home

Ceilidh McBain from Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home

She said nurses from all over had blazed through the blizzard for hours on foot to make sure they were at the Royal Infirmary in time or early.

LORRAYNE MAIR and four other colleagues were snowed in at Forth Valley Hospital after a 12 hour day shift. They camped out on emergency crash mats and were straight back to it yesterday for another 12 hour day shift.

Franchise Principal for Western Toyta GRAHAM ROSS took one look at the Landcruiser sitting in the showroom and decided to put it to good use.

“My wife is a nurse and she had asked if I could take one of her colleagues into work as well. When I got back I looked at the car and thought – there must be a way of helping people who are stuck,” he said.

A youngster clears snow from a neighbour's path

A youngster clears snow from a neighbour's path

“I am totally impressed by the commitment of these people – I know how important it is for them to get to work.”

He put out a message and was inundated with requests for help from nurses stuck on the city outskirts desperate to get into work and help out.

He run a back-to-back service including the return trips to take people back home.

Relieved Senior Stroke Physiotherapist at the infirmary, WENDY CAMERON, said he had been a godsend. “He picked me and five others up from Tranent and insisted on making sure we got back home to our doorsteps last night. He was amazing – we really appreciated it.”

The treacherous conditions have forced many elderly and vulnerable people indoors – running the risk of leaving them isolated, hungry and alone.

But services across the city reached out to form a safety net of support for rough sleepers and the city’s most vulnerable by co-ordinating efforts to provide shelter, food and drink.

ST JOHN’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH on Princes Street transformed itself into a temporary 24-hour shelter bolstered by food donations from social enterprise Harry’s Bar and Tescos on Princes Street.

Cyrenians EWAN AITKEN said it is extraordinary what’s been done. “People have been in touch to offer to help and volunteer – and at the moment we have lots of help but what is vital is that people know what there is available to them.

“We need the public to be our eyes and ears. Tell us of people who are out there and may need support.”

City of Edinburgh Council staff praised by leader Adam McVey while others hailed bakers, power engineers and more including GILMERTON GROCERS for delivering food packages to the elderly.

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