Rescuers helped stranded motorists on snow-bound roads across the Melton borough

A photo which shows the huge drifts on the A607 near Croxton Kerrial, near Melton, which was taken by Phillip Payne of the Leicestershire and Rutland 4x4 Response team EMN-180503-144606001
A photo which shows the huge drifts on the A607 near Croxton Kerrial, near Melton, which was taken by Phillip Payne of the Leicestershire and Rutland 4x4 Response team EMN-180503-144606001
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Volunteers and farmers came to the aid of many motorists around the Melton borough after heavy snow made roads impassable.

Several drivers took to social media to thank those who had come to their rescue after being stranded with their vehicles.

Gareth Batchelor, of the Leicestershire and Rutland 4x4 Response team, took this picture while he was out rescuing people on the treachorous snow-bound routes of the Melton borough EMN-180503-144922001

Gareth Batchelor, of the Leicestershire and Rutland 4x4 Response team, took this picture while he was out rescuing people on the treachorous snow-bound routes of the Melton borough EMN-180503-144922001

The Leicestershire and Rutland 4x4 Response charity, whose members use their off-road cars to assist the emergency services and members of the public, were on high alert as high snow drifts formed on major routes and back roads.

The organisation’s Nigel Spencer said: “We were involved in transporting nurses from Leicester, Melton and Oakham into the Rutland and Melton areas for house calls.

“We also helped take end of life specialist care nurses to urgent calls which continued on Sunday evening due to the poor condition around some of the rural locations, which included isolated farm tracks.

“We also had responders deployed on the A607 clearing trapped cars around Croxton Kerrial.”

One of those response drivers was Phillip Payne, who engaged in rescues on the A607 near Melton from 8pm until 1am on Thursday night.

His first task was to pull a 44-tonne truck up the hill towards Melton from Croxton Kerrial in his much smaller Land Rover Discovery 3.

The truck went on its way but its driver decided to turn around and head back towards Grantham only for him to be stuck again when a Vauxhall Corsa was also unable to move with the road down to just a single carriageway.

Phillip said: “I managed to drag the lady in the Corsa, who was a Melton police officer heading to work, through the drifts and past the truck.

“I went back to assist a van and the truck to find another truck heading towards Melton was now blocking the road.

“I dug snow from under them and heaved at the trucks back and front in my car for three hours trying to free them.

“Thankfully a local farmer turned up to assist in his tractor eventually.

“He managed to plough the road and help the trucks whilst I took care of multiple cars that were still stranded.”

He finally headed home to bed in the early hours, adding: “I find it really rewarding helping all those people and a great bit of fun.

“And it’s always nice when those you helped then track you down to say thank you one more time.”

One of those people rescued by Phillip was Rick Miller, who had been in the stuck van, who thanked him on Facebook and commented: “We were stuck for three hours due to a few stuck lorries blocking the road but he came back time and again pulling people out.”

Another of the Leicestershire and Rutland 4x4 Response drivers busy on Thursday evening was Gareth Batchelor.

He said: “I was assisting people stuck in the snow around Ragdale and Six Hills and I also assisted police with traffic management at a two-vehicle road traffic collision at Six Hills on the same evening.

“I also helped a member of the public stuck down a lane and brought them back to safety as the vehicle was snowed in with drifts.”

Farmers also played their part in rural parts of the borough to help make roads more passable.

A Leicestershire County Council spokesperson said: “Our network of farmers, who fit ploughs to their tractors, hit the roads on Wednesday to clear thoseaffected by heavy snow.

“Gritters, and farmers with snow ploughs, were out in Harborough and Melton on Thursday, helping to clear deep snow and keep the county moving.”