Volunteer response drivers help the snowbound

Twenty volunteer drivers from the Bucks and Oxon 4×4 Response Group (BORG) worked for almost 18 hours on Sunday to reach housebound vulnerable people in Buckinghamshire.

Thick snow across the county risked cutting off housebound and bedbound people who are normally served by Buckinghamshire County Council’s home care service.

But the County’s adult social care team, working with help from BORG’s four-wheel-drive volunteers, reached all 50 of the most vulnerable, housebound residents, many of whom need four visits a day.

Gladys Rhodes White, Executive Director for Adult Social Care, said the volunteer drivers drove to remote areas of north Buckinghamshire, and those cut off by steep hills in Wycombe and Marlow.

“They were fantastic – real troopers,” said Gladys. “They worked with us through the day and night, which meant we were able to make all our calls to all our residents in need of home care visits.

“Our most vulnerable residents don’t have family or neighbours nearby to help, so our carers play such a vital role. We were so grateful to the BORG drivers. They were real knights of the off-road.

“And thanks to our dedicated staff team, who turned out in such appalling weather, the whole operation worked superbly.”

Buckinghamshire County Council serves more than 600 people through its domestic care services, and care providers telephoned all of them to ensure all was well with them.

As well as reaching those cut off by severe weather, the County Council’s team delivered 277 meals to vulnerable residents on snowy Sunday. In anticipation of snow, they also delivered 100 extra frozen meals on Saturday ready for Sunday lunchtime.

Lin Hazell, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “As always, our adult social care team pulled out all the stops to make sure people were cared for, and I’m really proud of them.”

And Lin urged residents to keep a weather eye out for their vulnerable neighbours to ensure they have heat, food and drink.

At Amersham, a four-wheel-drive volunteer of another kind helped ensure a wedding went ahead despite the heavy snow.

Buckinghamshire County Council registrars Lucy Newton and Dee Taylor were due to preside at a wedding in King’s Chapel, Amersham, on Sunday.

But Lucy’s car was stuck on the climb up the winding Aston Hill at Stokenchurch, and the wedding hour was fast approaching.

Enter the four-wheel-drive hero in the form of Dee’s husband, John, who rescued Lucy from her stranded car, and drove his Land Rover through Buckinghamshire’s country lanes to avoid heavy traffic queues on the main routes.

They arrived to news from bridegroom Sam that hisbride-to-be, Laura, and her bridesmaids were snowbound in Amersham-on-the-Hill.

Registrar Dee said: “Amersham Hill was log-jammed, so we went up the more rural Rectory Hill from Old Amersham, having to help free blocked cars so we could get past. There wereLaura and her two bridesmaids waiting just inside the hairdressers with bridesmaids protecting her hair with umbrellas!”

With only a slight delay, Sam and Laura were able to tie the knot.

Noel Brown, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Health, said: “As usual our Registrars go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure couples receive the best customer care and have the wedding ceremony they dream of no matter what the challenges are. It’s amazing they got this one together, and thanks to all!”