Snow hero recognised at awards
Darren Walker, 44, and his friends’ actions were among countless tales of Lincolnshire people going above and beyond to help others in need when the county was in the grip of The Beast From The East.
Members of the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum (LRF), a multi-agency group that works together in the event of such emergency situations, were touched by some of the stories of support from members of the public.
In March, people were asked to nominate their Snow Heroes and Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable Bill Skelly, chairman of the LRF, said at the awards ceremony: “Tonight has been a chance to say thank you and to let people know that we are incredibly grateful for their help and support during what was a very unusual and extreme situation.”
There were six award categories. Winner of the non-emergency services individual award was self-employed stonemason and bricklayer Darren Walker, from Metheringham, who came to the aid of 20 motorists who had become stuck in the snow or were having difficulty because of the wintry weather and spent several nights rescuing people from rural locations.
Darren is a volunteer with Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Preservation Support Service, which promotes fire safety, does fire marshalling at events and preserving old fire engines.
He said: “It’s a bit overwhelming and nearly had me in tears. I thought it was just going to be a bit of a tea party.”
He and some friends offered their services in their 4x4s to those stranded in snow on the Wolds.
Darren said: “Me and Mark Smith came across some police officers looking for a black Skoda Octavia. All they knew was it had turned off the Wragby to Louth road that was now closed and managed to get wedged in a ditch with two men and a dog inside.”
One of the men rang again later saying the car was running out of diesel and his mobile phone was about to go flat. Darren headed out in search, on the way pulling out a VW Golf, which they then called to rescue again later. He said: “We went down a country road with really bad drifting snow. As we reached the Golf, we found the missing Octavia. These two vehicles were just 100 metres apart. The weather was so awful, with blizzard conditions in the dark.”
Having towed both cars to safety Mark said: “It’s not until afterwards you think how close it was. Finding the Octavia was pure luck. No-one else would have gone down that road.”
The previous day he helped an elderly woman in Branston who had fallen and broken her hip and, after getting several people to lift her into his truck, took her to hospital after the ambulance was delayed because of road closures.