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Katie Bulmer-Cooke: Snow brought out best in Sunderland folk

A snow plough on the A181 over the A19.
A snow plough on the A181 over the A19.

This last week, it’s fair to say that the weather forecasters certainly got it right. The ‘beast from the east’ really has lived up to its name!

Despite listening to, reading and watching all the weather reports in the run-up to Tuesday, there was still a part of me that was thinking, ‘it won’t be that bad’.

How very wrong I was! I can’t ever remember seeing snow like this, that has been so deep, swooped in so ferociously, and has lasted so long.

While it has taken Sunderland by storm (quite literally), with school and road closures, nightmare travel conditions and amber weather warnings, it has also brought out the best in many of us as a city.

I’ve seen countless posts on social media sharing information about help that is on offer for those without food or shelter.

I’ve seen people going out of their way to cook and deliver hot meals to vulnerable neighbours, as well as groups of neighbours getting out in the street with their snow shovels to clear drives, pathways and roads.

My husband, who is a heating engineer, has helped countless people get their boilers back on by giving advice over the phone, and so have some of his friends who work in the same trade.

NHS workers have camped out in the hospital to ensure that there are health care professionals on hand at all times to help those in need.

People have been helping out total strangers who have got their cars stuck in the snow by hopping out of their own cars and giving them a push.

All in all I’ve felt a huge sense of community spirit.

On the flip side of course, there are those who struggle to see the bigger picture and spare a thought for those less fortunate than themselves, with some people taking to social media to vent their feelings about roads not being cleared and bins not being emptied.

As frustrating as this crazy weather can be, and as boring as staring at the same four walls can get, it’s important to remember that it will pass and that not everyone is lucky enough to have a warm, safe place to go home to.

Keeping everyone safe is definitely priority in these conditions, and if that means that some facilities and services have to come to a brief halt, then that’s just the way it needs to be.

So until the city is snow-free and back to normal let’s all take a chance to help out our neighbours, stay safe and enjoy a cheeky bit of sledging while we can.