Community spirit shines through the Beast from the East

Snow in Beccles Town centre at first light.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Snow in Beccles Town centre at first light. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Community spirit fought through the snow with hospital employees given lifts in an invincible 4x4 in order to get to work.

Lee Staff, 48 and from Belton, volunteered to take two emergency doctors from Norwich to James Paget University Hospital on Tuesday afternoon.

This was after he had taken Cass Watts, 39, clinical lead at Beccles Hospital to work through a nearly two-hour commute from Bradwell to Beccles, a journey that normally takes half an hour.

Fearing being stranded half way to Beccles in her own car, Ms Watts rang Mr Staff hoping he could help her get to work.

She said: 'I don't think I would have made it in my own car. So I gave him a ring and he said he would take me to work.'

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Mr Staff, who volunteers for the RNLI, drove Ms Watts to work through the Haddiscoe bends, and encountered villagers in both Haddiscoe and St Olaves helping to clear the way for traffic with grit and shovels.

Not content with just getting to work, Ms Watts and Mr Staff helped four stricken cars along the way and gave another stranded commuter a lift after coming across her stuck for a second time on the way to Beccles.

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Ms Watts added: 'It is quite a rural route and the road there were a lot of abandoned cars and lorries that were stranded.

'It was great to see the villagers clearing the bridge in St Olaves and gritting the bridge themselves, and Haddiscoe villagers were out pushing stuck cars as well.'

As clinical lead, Ms Watts manages the ward, the staff and therapy teams at the hospital on a day to day basis, a job only made more important with less staff available due to the snow.

She said: 'The hospital is a stand alone hospital so I can't call on other staff from other wards to help if staff can't get in.

'It was really important for me to get in to support the staff and the patient care is the best patient care we can deliever.'

Mr Staff, 48, who works for a haulage company said: 'We had to come over the Haddiscoe Dam Bridge and obviously people were having problems going over and had to push two people across the bridge.'

He added: 'I do it because there is a good reward to volunteering.

'It is what you have got to do and if everyone did it we would all get along a lot better.'

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