Stranded Somerset drivers forced to bed down in Nether Stowey village hall


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The Independent Online

Thirty people were forced to spend the night in a village hall after being rescued by police when they became stranded in their cars because of snow.

Drivers and passengers got stuck on the A39 between Bridgwater and Williton in Somerset at around 1am when a build-up of snow and fallen trees blocked their path.

Avon and Somerset Police transported the men and women in 4x4s to a local fire station in the village of Nether Stowey to serve them hot drinks.

Police then got a key to the village hall, where the group spent the night.

Local residents said it started snowing yesterday afternoon and continued until the early hours.

Wendy Hobbs, who is secretary of Nether Stowey Village Hall, said the police woke her at 2am asking if they could have the key to the building.

"I have lived here for 28 years and I have never known anything like this with people being stuck on the roads," Mrs Hobbs said.

"We have never seen people marooned in their cars and I think it was a one-off.

"I don't know whether any of the motorists got into difficulty but I am glad the police were able to help them.

"I didn't know why they were stuck but at 2am you're not going to ask.

"I gather there was a lorry that became stuck on the road between here and Watchet.

"I just gave the police the key - I didn't actually come down to the village hall in the night as I was advised not to.

"There was nothing more I could have done."

Mrs Hobbs said around a dozen of the stranded motorists spent the night in accommodation at the neighbouring pub, the Ancient Mariner.

"We did what we could to help," she said.

"Once it got to about 7am, another committee member was able to take tea and coffee to them, but I understand the police brought microwaves for pies and all sorts.

"Everyone was well looked after and the police started ferrying them back to their cars this morning.

"They are all on their way home safely but all I did was let the police have the key."

Inspector Adam Crockford, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: "At about 1am we became aware that about 30 people were stuck on a road that was impassable, primarily because of snow but also because of fallen trees.

"Officers from different districts in 4x4s were first on the scene to help.

"We asked the local fire station to open up and serve hot drinks and spoke with the council and identified a key-holder for a nearby village hall.

"It was a group effort by the emergency services and a bit of community spirit."