MANAGERS at Dorothy House Hospice Care in Winsley have said a big ‘Thank You’ to local people, Hospice staff and supporters for their generous efforts to help Hospice staff deliver patient care with minimum disruption despite the freezing conditions, snow and ice.

Dorothy House carers, nurses, support staff and shop staff showed true grit by walking through the snow to reach the Hospice or retail shops and helped keep the charity running smoothly despite Storm Emma bringing roads to a halt.

One member of the Hospice’s catering team walked 14 miles to and from Bath, an incredible journey in such wintry weather. As many staff had to sleep at the hospice, senior managers rallied around to provide beds and help with cooking to feed the Dorothy House team.

They were kept going by the offer from SW-Machinery Hire in Lacock of a 4x4 vehicle to help transport staff and carers to and from work.

Simon Williams, Director at SW-Machinery Hire, said: “I rang Dorothy House to offer help with 4x4 transport for their nurses and carers as I knew the roads would be impassable for cars due to the snow and SW-Hire are active supporters of the Hospice.

“My family and some colleagues have experience of the outstanding care provided to the community by Dorothy House so we were delighted to be able to help them during the recent harsh weather.”

Kate Anderson from Bath, Junior Sister in the Inpatient Unit at Dorothy House said: “The Thursday day shift of nurses arrived at 7am to care for patients, stayed in Winsley overnight and most were transported home in 4x4s by Friday evening.

“Thanks to SW-Hire’s kind offer of transport, relief staff were also brought in to the Hospice on Friday afternoon. It was truly inspiring to be surrounded by our wonderful patients and such hardworking, selfless and dedicated staff.”

Hospice staff went the extra mile to keep patients smiling despite the weather. For example, Matthew Chandler, a patient being cared for in the Inpatient Unit in Winsley, recently missed celebrating his 40th Birthday in Barcelona due to his brain tumour.

On Friday, nurses and support staff from Dorothy House built him a Spanish-themed snowman outside his room to cheer him up. In response, Mr Chandler, who comes from Winsley, said: "You couldn't take me to Barcelona but you brought Barcelona to Winsley."

Amanda Redgewell, from Radstock, a Hospice at Home carer for Dorothy House, said: “I had to have my vehicle dug out of the snow by another Hospice at Home carer’s husband and members of the public on Thursday night.

“It took three hours to drive from my patient’s house in Keynsham to my house in Radstock. There was tremendous community spirit throughout the night and I’d like to thank everyone who helped me get home safely.”

John Davies, Chief Executive, at Dorothy House Hospice Care, said: “In these difficult circumstances our staff have shown extraordinary commitment to get into work and look after patients or open our retail shops.

“We are here for people when they need us and that’s all down to our dedicated team, so a huge thank you to everybody who supported the hospice at this challenging time.”

“I also want to thank SW-Hire for their fantastic help getting our staff in and out of the hospice and to patients’ homes. Finally, a heartfelt thank you to our community who, despite the freezing conditions, have gone above and beyond to ensure that we can continue to treat those who need us the most. Thank you all.”

Sadly, two events that usually raise funds for Dorothy House were both cancelled over the weekend due to the weather. They included the Bath Half Marathon, one of its biggest annual fundraisers, and an Open Garden event.

The Hospice will contact all 206 Team Dotty runners with an alternative method for runners to raise money for Dorothy House. Last year the Hospice had 181 runners and raised over £60,000 from the Vitality Bath Half so they plan to find a way to raise a similar or larger sum this year.

In Bradford on Avon, 14 Town Council Community Emergency Volunteers turned out to help local residents at the height of the storm.

They worked the equivalent of 140 man hours over a 72-hour period, including clearing snow and gritting 550 metres of footpaths in Bradford on Avon and Winsley.

BoATC CEV Senior Co-ordinator Paul Robertson said: “The response from the whole community has been fantastic.

“We have had so many positive comments from people, particularly when we were clearing snow. They have been so grateful to see us outside clearing the footpaths."

When the snowstorm hit Bradford on Avon last Thursday and Friday, the team swung into action immediately with their 4x4 vehicle, assisting Bradford on Avon based care agency Bluebird Care to make 16 carer visits.

The team also cleared footpaths in Kennet Gardens, Conigre Hill and Whitehill, and helped four motorists whose vehicles had got stuck in the snow. They also helped Wiltshire Police on Friday evening by bringing in a colleague from Bristol to work.

While on their way to Trowbridge, they came across a late-night road traffic accident on the Bath Road and assisted the police in traffic management until their colleagues arrived.

The volunteers helped take three medical staff from the Bradford on Avon health centre in the Station Approach car park to the Winsley surgery on Friday. They also made eight deliveries of urgent medication for customers of the Day Lewis pharmacy in Silver Street.

Mr Robertson said: “On the Saturday morning, one of the volunteers got up at the crack of dawn and went out at 6.15am to fetch a Bluebird Care assistant from Frome to enable her to visit nine vulnerable people.

“Our volunteers also went up to Winsley to help the parish council clear snow to the shop and surgery. On top of that, we helped deliver some beer from the Kettlesmith Brewery to the Fat Fowl Café and Restaurant in the town centre.”

Mr Robertson added: “We’d like to thank Mark Carey, of Venture Events, who very kindly loaned us his Land Rover 4x4 on Friday, CPS Peugeot who repaired our windscreen wipers free of charge, and the lady on Whitehill who made us all a hot chocolate while we were clearing snow.”

The team stood down on Saturday after being on-call for 72 hours. They will stage a debriefing at their next meeting on March 21 to see how they can improve communication and co-ordination in response to emergencies.

“We will be discussing how we can work more closely with the parish councils and will be encouraging more parishes to get their teams of volunteers together so that we can support them,” Mr Robertson said.