“The Angels of the A23”
Members of the Plymouth Brethren UK Rapid Relief Team (RRT) were again involved in good deeds when freezing conditions on the A23 at Handcross Hill forced motorists to a standstill. Assisting police to tow vehicles out of trouble and handing out hot drinks and food saw the RRT dubbed “The Angels of the A23” by grateful motorists enduring the ordeal.
Britain’s worst March snow storm in 30 years meant road conditions were never going to be easy. Snow falls and sub zero temperatures combined to block the road, stranding motorists for up to 13 hours. When Mark MacIntyre of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church arrived on the scene around tea time he could see help was needed and called in the RRT to assist Police efforts to recover the situation, an action that was to earn the team praise from the Police and struggling motorists.
“If it wasn’t for Mark and his friends I would no doubt have spent the night in the car,” said Professor Carol Alexander from the University of Sussex. “But he and his friends got me to the top of Handcross Hill, and I was able to get home to Purley after 8.5 hours in the car, having left Sussex University at 5pm.”
“They were absolutely brilliant,” another driver said. “It would take the council a week to organise something like this, they were angels and everyone was really glad to see them.”
After an initial assessment of the situation the RRT called in 7 4x4s to assist Police efforts to get vehicles moving. Driving snow had built up to the point where it was preventing vehicles driving clear so the 30-strong team from the RRT pitched in with shovels to dig them free. Some vehicles needing the 4x4s to tow them clear, and for others it was simply a case of flat battery. For those patiently waiting for their turn to come the RRT were on hand with hot drinks and snacks. Having not eaten for hours the generosity of the RRT was much appreciated. “Everyone was really grateful,” said Mark. “A hot drink can mean a lot when you’re stuck out outside at night.”
The operation continued until dawn by which time the emergency services had the situation in hand and the road was clearing.
To view DVD clip, please click on the link below. “Courtesy of BBC South Today”.
To view Daily Mail article, please click on the link below.