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Snowbound locals pull out the stops
Wednesday 13th January, 2010

Snowbound locals pull out the stops
Lowton J&I staff dig out

If there is one thing you can count on to unite people, it’s the great British weather and local people have shown their true grit during the recent adverse weather.

Sub zero temperatures and heavy snow last week meant that many schools and businesses in Wigan, like many other boroughs, were forced to close.

The Highways team at Wigan Council worked with partners NPS and other local contractors to ensure that primary roads, hospitals, schools and transport providers remained open to the public, as temperatures plunged to as low as -11Oc.

Meanwhile, teachers, staff and local residents joined together and pulled out all the stops to ensure that schools and businesses reopened as quickly as possible.

The community in Stubshaw Cross came together to help reopen Ashton St Wilfrid’s RC Primary. As a voluntary aided school, staff and governors were thrilled by the support from locals as the access to the school was transformed from a skating rink into a car park once again.

Staff, parents and children were joined by the Deacon and parishioners from the local church, lollipop man Jimmy and catering manager Janice, as well as players from nearby Ashton Town FC on Sunday afternoon. Armed with shovels, spades and wheelbarrows, it took just a few hours to clear the site, enabling the school to reopen on Monday after its extended holiday.

Headteacher, Clare Orrell said: “I was really overwhelmed by the amount of support we received and would like to say thank you to everyone who got involved and helped us to get the school open.”

Similar efforts were also made by a number of other schools. Gilded Hollins Primary School in Lowton hired a digger to help clear the access road, car park and junior playground.

At Lowton J&I Primary School, it was all hands to the pump for teachers and staff as they worked furiously to clear pathways ready for pupils to safely return to school.

The council’s catering providers, Metrofresh also helped to ensure that food was available to all schools that were open and distributed excess food to local charities.

With the all important GCSE and A Level examinations and mocks scheduled to take place this week, some secondary schools also tried to ensure pupils were ready for the exams by posting homework online and opening on Saturday.

Nick Hudson, Executive Director of Children and Young People’s Services at Wigan Council has praised everyone for pulling together and making such a huge effort to ensure that local schools remained open.

Councillor Susan Loudon, Cabinet Champion for Children and Young People said: “The snowfall last week had a significant effect on a number of services, including our schools and it is fantastic that so many staff and residents turned out to help clear school grounds and ensure a safe return to school for our young people.”

The big thaw is now underway and all schools in the borough have now reopened. The message is that it’s back to business as usual, with thanks to the community.

For further information, please call Josie Neil on 01942 827369.

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