THE snow brought the worst weather conditions – but it also brought out the best in our communities.

One man battled through the snow to deliver life-saving medication to vulnerable people and get doctors to their patients out in the community.
Staff at Bridport Medical Centre say there is no doubt that kind-hearted Gary Arnold saved lives after he volunteered his time and 4X4 to help out today.

Sarah McNulty, the centre’s management assistant, said: “Gary really helped to do anything we needed. He took multiple trips to pick up staff who work at the medical centre and bring them in. He’s said he will take them all home again at the end of the day.

“He’s delivered palliative care and bloods urgently. He’s delivered prescriptions and medication, he’s taken blood samples to the hospital, he’s taken one of our doctors on visits to elderly and very unwell patients. All the time he could’ve been in the warm at home. We’d have had a much tougher day today without him.

“Without him we would have really struggled and the bloods would have had to be retaken. The doctors would have been out much longer.

“He did get delayed helping three people who had fallen. He took them to hospital with broken bones. He’s also towed cars out of ditches. He’s so modest and has taken it all in his stride but we would like to say ‘thank you very much, you have been a hero – a superstar.’”

Practice manager Eilish Davoren was also full of praise for Mr Arnold.

“We could not have done today without him,” she said. “Unfortunately there are people who are dying and in pain and he has made sure they get that medication.

“It’s made us feel warm inside that someone has shown such community spirit.”

And kind volunteers opened the Unitarian Chapel on East Street, Bridport, on Friday. They offered warm clothes and blankets for those in need and urged elderly people, or anyone with mobility issues to contact them if they needed help.

Elsewhere, Hangers Dairy has been praised online for persevering with their milk deliveries to ensure people can warm up with a cup of tea at home.

Richard Cumpstone said customers were amazed to see milkmen managing to deliver their daily points.

One resident emailed the Bridport & Lyme Regis News to say hospital and care home staff deserved praise for walking miles to reach vulnerable people.

And Lynsey Maunder said Angel Carers staff were out for hours in Bridport and Beaminster to reach those who needed help.

Nick Down from Lyme Regis battled through the snow to help others in need. 

The 40-year-old, who owns 4x4, posted on Facebook on Thursday evening offering his help.

He said: “From 8am on the Friday we had so many calls from people in the area in need of help. We also came across a first responder who was unable to get up the main hill. We tried pushing it up but it was impossible, so I told them to grab what they needed and get in my car.

“There was an elderly man who I also took from Lyme Regis to Kilmington. He lived in Lyme Regis but his family and those who could care for him lived in Kilmington.

“It was such a nice feeling to be able to help where I could.”

He added: “I usually get funny looks driving round Lyme Regis in my huge 4x4, but it was a life-saver.”

On Friday, Bridport Town Council cleared access to the cemetery, to allow two funerals to go ahead, and the council building at Mountfield, where a wedding took place, as well as clearing paths through Plottingham and St Mary’s.

The council’s outside team also cleared and gritted other difficult areas including outside Sydney Gale.

Cllr Sarah Williams, leader of the town council, said: “ I would like to pay tribute to our outside team, who were on duty on Friday – Paul Violet, Sean Coombs and Bobby Harris – and who worked so hard in such very difficult conditions. It is really pleasing that thanks to the dedication of our team we were able to help during the worst of the weather.”

Susie Palmer, communications manager at Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said there was an ‘incredible response’ to the appeal for 4x4 drivers, and also praised ‘brilliant’ staff for going above and beyond.

Dorset Police has also thanked the community for their support during the adverse weather.