Community spirit shines through the snow

COMMUNITY spirit shone through the snow as North Devon struggled with the winter conditions this week. With staff at the Tyrrell Hospital minor injuries unit in Ilfracombe unable to get to work, community matron Ruth Howard stepped into the breach to man

COMMUNITY spirit shone through the snow as North Devon struggled with the winter conditions this week.With staff at the Tyrrell Hospital minor injuries unit in Ilfracombe unable to get to work, community matron Ruth Howard stepped into the breach to man the unit.Other Ilfracombe health workers Karen Porter, Dawn Wright, Sarah Hine and Rob Edwards - whose normal jobs are in the theatres of the North Devon District Hospital - also turned up at the Tyrrell to take over the good work.Like elsewhere in the region, they were greeted with a steady stream of casualties from slips, trips and falls.All five have been sent letters of thanks from the Tyrrell's modern matron Sandra Walsh.Katherine Allen of the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust said some staff at the North Devon District Hospital had also walked miles to get in to work. Some were then provided with overnight accommodation on the hospital site.Thanks were also due to many neighbours, friends and relations in the Ilfracombe area who helped with the care of people in their homes, whose social care workers could not get to them.This included a farmer turning up to help on his tractor."This was a brilliant community effort," she said.At West Down, a carer at Barnstaple-based home care Primecare, managed to get to several clients on Tuesday by hitching a ride on the back of a farmer's tractor. "They could not be reached by any other means," recruitment manager Nikki Turner told the Gazette."In many cases, our carers abandoned their cars and walked to homes where it was feasible."Primecare carers covered hundreds of miles on foot to get to their client's around North Devon yesterday - including rural areas such as Holsworthy, Combe Martin, Chulmleigh, Winkleigh, Witheridge and South Molton. Miss Turner said that while some clients' homes were inaccessible because of the extreme weather, where this occurred, family, friends and neighbours all rallied around.She said: "For those who our carers did manage to get to, we made sure that the carer prepared all of their meals and their medication for the day."We have spoken to all the clients that we were unable to get carers out to and if we did not manage to speak to them directly we spoke to the next of kin, friends or neighbours," she added."We have been overwhelmed by the dedication of our care workers and office staff during this busy period."We really appreciate all the support and understanding from our clients and their extended families during these extreme circumstances.


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