A big thank you to Sheffield's unsung snow heroes who are keeping city moving

PCSOs on patrol in Sheffield
PCSOs on patrol in Sheffield

Determined Sheffielders have braved the sub-zero wintry conditions to keep the city moving – and we want to say a big thank you to our unsung snow heroes.

Emergency services workers, NHS staff, teachers, bus and tram drivers, council gritting workers and dozens of ordinary folk have worked round the clock to keep the city moving in the snow.

For the last 48 hours while many have enjoyed ‘snow days’ and time off with their families, there have been hundreds more who have battled their way into work to help others.

Among them were NHS staff in Sheffield who had to attend some community appointments on foot.

A spokeswoman for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Appointments and operations are taking place as normal at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals today thanks to the tremendous efforts of all our staff.

“If we have to change any appointments, we will contact patients affected directly.

Teacher Caz Perry got to work by bike through the Botanical Gardens

Teacher Caz Perry got to work by bike through the Botanical Gardens

“However, we appreciate that patients may not be able to travel today and we want safety to be the priority for everyone.

“If patients do not feel able to attend their appointment or operation we would just ask them to call the number on their appointment letter to let us know as early as possible.

“Our community staff are continuing to make their essential visits today but many are having to do this on foot and so we are asking people to bear with us as there may be some delays. Where they are unable to visit, they will make telephone contact with patients to offer support.”

Meanwhile, in Chesterfield staff from the hospital’s estates team set up a 4x4 taxi service to give key personnel lifts into work.

Gritting in Woodseats

Gritting in Woodseats

A trust spokesman said staff from the estates team had made numerous journeys in the snow to bring workers to the hospital.

“We have a list of key individuals who need to get to work and the estates team were given a list of those who needed to be brought in and they were given designated pick up points.

“We have a 4x4 vehicle which carries six people so several trips were made.”

Chief Superintendent Stuart Barton, from South Yorkshire Police who is based at Attercliffe police station, said: “Many of our staff are going the extra mile to get into work.

“Some are using public transport, being dropped off by friends and other colleagues with some even walking an hour to get into a station. It’s been a real team effort that will continue over the next few days.”

PD Cairo and PC Pitcher from South Yorkshire Police attended a dog training course in the snow.

A South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue spokesman said: “It’s been business as usual for South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and all of our fire engines have been fully staffed and ready to respond to emergencies should they be required to do so.

“This is thanks to the dedication of our staff who have made it into work to provide our service to the public, despite some obviously difficult conditions.

“We’ve also stayed in close contact with our council, health and emergency service partners and remain available to offer them assistance if needed.”

In Woodseats, Sheffield Council staff were out and about first thing gritting the hilly roads and paths so residents could make their way to work.

The smiling colleagues, pictured above were at the bottom of Cobnar Road.

Becca Spencer, commenting about the gritters, said: “Saw the blokes out Manor Top early this morning. Very surprised but grateful.”

Volunteers from Edale Mountain Rescue team assisted ambulance crews in Sheffield and helped stretcher a stricken walker after she fell in Meersbrook Park and dislocated her knee on Wednesday.

While most schools in the city were shut, some did open their doors.

Among them were Lydgate Infant School in Crosspool, Watercliffe Meadow in Norwood, Carterknowle and Holt House schools in Carterknowle, Sheffield High School, in Broomhill, St Thomas of Canterbury in Chancet Wood, and Dobcroft School in Millhouses.

Ian Read, headteacher of Watercliffe Meadow School, said: “All but three staff were able to make it in so there was no reason for us to close.”

He added: “Snow angels, snowballing and sledging have been the order of the day for our children at playtime and lunch. We are also offering a free hot meal for all our children and staff as it’s so cold.”

Teacher Caz Perry cycled to work on an electric bike, through the Botanical Gardens.

She said; “In the Botanics on my way to school to teach this morning. The bike is electric I’m happy to say!”

“The air was so clean with hardly any traffic on the roads.”

The snow also did not get in the way of education at Dobcroft Infant and Junior schools which remained open yesterday.

Headteacher Nicola Sexton said: “Both headteachers took the joint decision to open at 10am to allow as many staff to travel into work safely and ensure the appropriate staffing levels were in place.

“The infants accommodated the junior school children for their school dinners as there weren’t enough kitchen staff for both schools.

“Children brought sledges to school and spent time outside, many in their World Book Day costumes, as well as time in their year groups following the curriculum as much as possible.

“Many parents have been extremely grateful for school being open as it has enabled them to make it in to work, many of whom have ‘front line’ jobs.”

Staff from CARE fertility in Nether Edge had to get in as their IVF work is time sensitive.

Paula Smith, nurse manager, said: “We have five patients scheduled to have their eggs collected. It has to be today as the eggs have reached the perfect stage for collection and if left the whole lengthy treatment cycle will be jeopardised.”

Andrew Jonas of Mayfield Alpacas found himself in knee-deep snow to feed the animals. Keeley Jonas, from the organisation, said: “Took us quite a while to take straw, hay, food and water down to all the animals today.”

A charity shuttle service that takes hundreds of cancer patients to Weston Park Hospital, battled the Beast from the East to ensure every patient made their appointment.

While the snow has closed dozens of schools and shops, and led to the cancellation of numerous bus and train services, volunteer drivers from Doncaster’s Firefly charity have shown true grit to keep the vital shuttle service on the road.

The charity’s five minibuses transported 39 people from Doncaster to Weston Park Hospital on Wednesday and 43 yesterday. Firefly co-director Paul Taylor says he is confident the charity will be able to continue running today as well.

He said: “This is really important treatment, and once we checked with Weston Park and they said they were working as normal, there was no question that we’d get everyone to their appointments.

“We had five people who were due to have the last session in their cycle, and the last thing they’d want was to miss that session.”

Paul added: “We do feel really proud that we’ve been able to continue the service. By hook or by crook, we’ll get people there. Whatever the weather.”

Sheffield Council said since Sunday staff had gritted 2,600 miles of road, 450 workers had been involved in keeping the city moving and 1,529 tonnes of salt had been spread.

There were other examples of kind-heartedness across the city.

Staff from Syd and Mallory vintage clothing store on Division Street set up a rail of free clothes for those sleeping rough.

They tweeted: “It’s super cold out there. We’ve set up a rail of FREE warm clothes for the homeless. If you see anyone struggling in Sheffield send them up to the minty shop on Devonshire Street.”

Star readers took to Facebook to praise workers.

Clinical support worker Alana Roberts, said: “I work in the NHS and, with the weather as blizzardy as it is, if it wasn’t for @FirstSouthYorks and @SCSupertram, I wouldn’t have made it into work the last couple of days. Thanks guys, you’re doing an amazing job.”

Betty Ann Winkly posted: “Thank you to all the people keeping us all going in this weather. You’re all stars.”

Graham Moore, Chairman of Westfield Health, said: “Can I congratulate all those who have braved the appalling weather to maintain services, including my own colleagues at Westfield Health, and not least my local Mosborough News who consistently deliver my Star, on time whatever the weather. They epitomise the saying ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going!’

“Their commitment is awesome.”