Belfast Telegraph

Firms warm to plight of snowbound

By Clare Weir

Northern Ireland firms are showing real community spirit by helping out stranded families and farmers hit by last weekend's blizzard.

Almost a week after the snow set in, some high-lying areas are still impassible by all but the most powerful of vehicles.

Farmers are struggling to reach livestock and some people are still snowed in and running low on food and in some cases, vital medication.

Staff from JF Digger Hire in Lisburn decided to take matters into their own hands when they heard distressed householders call a radio show for help.

Karen Stockton, a manager at the firm, said that colleagues decided they couldn't stand by and do nothing.

"We've been out and about since Friday helping on a voluntary basis," she said.

"My boss was out working and was listening to the radio and heard people calling in saying how they were stuck so we decided to get organised and see if we couldn't get up to help them.

"He was out in the Quarterlands Road in Dundrod all hours of the day and night helping people clear snow out of their lane.

"Like all companies in the industry we are getting things hard and the price of diesel is not helping but we couldn't hold out and do nothing any longer, we had the machines available to help people so we decided to use them and pitch in.

"We've had no contact from the DRD, we are just doing this ourselves.

"We just feel so sorry for people that are in dire need of help and we thought we needed to get moving and do something.

"Because of the height of some of the snow drifts, the type of machinery we have is some of the only machinery that can actually help shift the snow. It's hard work but we're happy to help people in the community."

Normally, JF Digger Hire, which employs four people, loans out equipment to private customers and the construction trade.

The company specialises in breaking, drilling, sawing and woodwork tools and larger equipment and heavy plant machinery including mini-diggers, access lifts and trailers for ground works, digging and transport of goods.

Belfast Telegraph

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