Salute our Suffolk snow heroes

Dedicated volunteers, emergency service workers and carers who have kept Ipswich going despite the treacherous winter weather were today praised for their sterling efforts.

IPSWICH: Dedicated volunteers, emergency service workers and carers who have kept Ipswich going despite the treacherous winter weather were today praised for their sterling efforts.

Firefighters, police officers, paramedics and hospital workers have been braving the icy roads and freezing temperatures as they do their duty to keep us all safe.

Meanwhile, elderly residents have been served by a tireless network of carers, nurses and meals on wheels deliverers who have not let the snow prevent them from helping those in need.

Star readers have gone the extra mile too - with many heeding calls to check up on an elderly or vulnerable neighbour and others helping fellow drivers who were struggling to get up hills.

Ipswich MP Chris Mole said the performance of the town's volunteers, carers and emergency workers was a testament to their outstanding commitment and hard work.

He said: “I think everybody needs to appreciate just what an extraordinary effort many public servants are putting in to keep the roads as clear as possible and support our vulnerable residents.

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“People are trying to get on with their jobs wherever it's safe for them to do so and the majority of people feel the responsibility in order to provide the goods and services that the rest of us need.”

Ipswich Borough Council leader Liz Harsant offered her own thanks to those out and about over the weekend who had helped things run as smoothly as possible across the town.

She said: “It's such a nice feeling when you have something that's almost a disaster and people pull together.

“It solves everything when you get the community working together - it's fantastic.”

A team of volunteer 4x4 owners have been on standby ready to help out the ambulance service and police, police chief revealed today.

The safety measure is the brainchild of the Suffolk Resilience Forum, which comprises every possible agency or service and is aimed at responding to emergencies or spells of challenging weather, such as the current big freeze.

Deputy chief constable Jacqui Cheer, chair of the forum's strategic co-ordinating group, has been busy conducting regular meetings on a daily basis to ensure all available help is at hand.

She praised the efforts of those across the county that had gone the extra mile, defying the brutally bitter winter weather.

She said: “We've had really good stories of people taking care of each other.

“Staff who have come from long distances have stayed on their premises and we have lots of examples of people knocking on each others' doors and checking on people.

“The way the people who deliver meals on wheels have kept going always amazes me. These are people who do it on a voluntary basis and they keep going - they are a lifeline.”

Marcus Bailey, East of England Ambulance Service general manager for Suffolk, said that “inevitably” conditions over the weekend had been challenging.

But he added: “The fact that our operations have gone so smoothly is testament to the sterling efforts of frontline staff and the excellent planning and collaborative working between ourselves and other agencies within the resilience forum.

“Our partners such as St John Ambulance, Red Cross and Rover Rescue have done a fantastic job and our own staff have gone above and beyond the call of duty in changing shifts and taking on extra work.

“Our thanks go out to them all as well as the general public who have assisted us in acting sensibly, heeding our advice and taking on board the choose well message.”