Monday, 28 December 2009

Snow Relief Centre

Reading had never known anything like it until last Monday! It kept on snowing until the early hours next morning. At 12.30 that morning there was a queue of cars moving at 1 mile an hour up Hemdean Road because whichever way they went at the top end of the road there would be some kind of incline and the gritters couldn't get out because there were so many abandoned cars on Vastern road and the IDR. The local BBC was saying that Church Road Caversham was blocked off - still is - both ways and the Caversham to Henley Road was impassable. Tilehurst was even worse.

Thousands of cars were abandoned in Reading and the radio said that they had opened up rest centres in the Oracle shopping centre and the Town Hall and a church in Caversham Heights had opened up as a rest centre. I wondered if that was ours. It was!

Soon, I was listening to our Minister, Jenny Dowding, speaking on the radio saying that they opened up at 6pm and people were still there. 'People came out of the woodwork and brought milk and food, and where there were children they were taken to local homes. Other people brought bedding to make the others more comfortable. We managed to do breakfasts and we're just wondering if we are going to have to serve lunches as well. The trouble is that people are still coming in from the North, having already been held up several hours and not knowing that they can't get any further.'

Help was offered to more than 100 drivers and the road was not opened up until mid-afternoon the next day, so lunches were also needed. So our church people here were fulfilling the Presodent's message, even before thet received his message. It is still extremely cold, with lying snow on the gardens and hills but the roads and footpaths are clear. The main hazard now is ice and more snow is forecast. This time we hope the the Reading Borough will be more prepared and so pevent too many roads being blocked.


Amy said...

What a wonderful story of hospitality and Christly gestures! Yeah Methodists! I hope that you are thawing out some by now. :-)

Olive Morgan said...

Well, the snow has gone, but we awoke to a very frosty morning today and more snow is forecast. I can't cope with the cold as well as I used to do, so I'm longing for the Spring to arrive!