Community Spirit In Snow Covered Rayleigh 22nd March 2018 – Posted in: News and Events – Tags: , , , , , , ,

Recently the whole country was affected by The Beast From The East, a somewhat unwanted and uninvited visitor that wreaked havoc on a scale not previously thought possible. Essex does not usually suffer too badly when it comes to snow, and on the odd occasion that we do see the white stuff it is usually just a one, or two, day wonder.  Not this time though. We certainly felt the full brunt of the weather and the implications for local businesses, schools and emergency services were far reaching.

Daily news reports on TV showing people trapped in their cars on motorways, empty ghost like roads and drifting snow made carrying on in that typically stoic British manner almost impossible.

Snow covered Rayleigh High Street

Rayleigh High Street

Schools were forced to close, as it was impossible for them to assure the safety of their pupils and staff, and for some secondary schools it was an impossibility for staff and pupils to even reach the schools with many travelling some distance by public transport or car.

The local transport networks were in chaos with trains cancelled and buses unable to navigate many local roads and hills. Crown Hill, and The Hockley Road in particular, were impassible with vehicles struggling to drive into Hockley resulting in long tail backs down Hambro Hill and back into Rayleigh itself.

Many local events were forced to cancel, and businesses had to accept a loss in takings as people stayed at home. This can be quite devastating for smaller businesses who walk a fine line when it comes to financial survival especially after the slower months of January and February.

That said many people had fun staying at home with the kids, building snowmen and taking time out from the normal rushed working week, although I know that most parents breathed a sigh of deep relief once the schools reopened the following Monday as you can have too much of a good thing !!!!!!!!!!!!

A snow covered Holy Trinity Church

Holy Trinity Church

Many homes and businesses suffered burst pipes and water damage during this week. Squires did not escape from such trauma and as we posted on our Facebook page we were so grateful to everyone who contacted us to raise the alarm that we had water pouring from our front door late on the Thursday evening.

Quite unusually,I had actually gone to bed early that night. Hearing my phone pinging a Facebook notification my first reaction was to ignore it as once you start scrolling through you can easily get caught up in seeing who did what, ate what and whose snowman was best. Snowman jealousy is a real issue at these times should not be underestimated!!!! Anyway I digress, thankfully I thought I would check just in case it was important, a cancelled booking etc and thank goodness I did. A message had come in via Squires’ Facebook page alerting us to a possible burst pipe in the shop. A short while later, more and more messages started to come in and then some texts. I flew, quite literally, out of bed and soon Mr Squires who had been, ‘just closing my eyes for a moment but I am still watching this film,’ and our daughter’s boyfriend rushed up to check it out.

Luckily due to the quick thinking and community spirit of so many people what could have been a much worse situation was avoided and we escaped with not too much damage. Whilst not quite a burst pipe as such there was a bad leak  and we assumed that we would be ripping up carpets and losing stock apart from the fact that this was one week before Mothering Sunday, one of our busiest days of the year.   With water switched off we could contain the leak and get it fixed and even managed to open the next day albeit later than normal.

I managed to track down the person who had raised the original alarm sharing it on one of Rayleigh’s community Facebook pages where someone had seen it and shared it to our page. It turned out that this person had originally been in another  pub in Rayleigh that night but were forced to leave after that pub had a burst pipe. Luckily for us they then walked up to The Half Moon Pub, a few doors away, and that is when they saw the water pouring out from under our front door.

Once Carl got there to sort things out he said it was a great feeling to see that people were popping their heads in to see if they could be of assistance and even one of our staff members who happened to be driving past with her mum stopped and came in to help too.

Deep snow in The High Street

A Snowy High Street

Rayleigh is  such a lovely town to live in. There is a good sense of community and the various brilliant community Facebook pages  really help to keep people in touch and informed of recent events. I saw so many posts asking if certain roads were clear to drive on, if the buses were back up and running, I saw people offering to drop off shopping at elderly neighbours houses or for people asking if someone could check on their elderly relatives as they could not get into Rayleigh due to the snow.

If you have not done so, and you are local to Rayleigh, please follow some or all of these fabulous Facebook groups such as :

Rayleigh Essex, The Voice of Rayleigh, 8/10 mums, Rayleigh Community Page, Love Rayleigh, Rayleigh Action Page and Spreading the Love. There are others plus many local church and charitable groups too. Keep Rayleigh connected and join a group.

The weather men are forecasting a possible return of the snow just in time for Easter……let’s hope not.