THICK snow caused major disruption across Bolton as bus services were suspended and cars came to a standstill.
People who braved driving in the snow faced nightmare journeys as vehicles struggled to get through the thick blanket on Friday evening.
Some areas of Bolton received up to seven inches of snow — Horwich is thought to have been among the worst affected.
Many people, including Pub Watch chairman Michelle Parkinson, became stranded and had to sleep where they could until the snow started to thaw.
She and a staff member were forced to stay in the Blue Boar, the pub she runs, in Deansgate.
Bolton Mountain Rescue Team’s volunteers were inundated with call outs overnight on Friday into Saturday. Around 20 volunteers turned out to 14 jobs including transporting young children and elderly people to hospital and helping ambulances get through the snow.
Team leader Garry Rhodes said the conditions were the worst the group had experienced and jobs had to be turned down due to demand.
He said: “The conditions are the worst we have ever seen over a short period. We dealt with 26 incidents in one day when it snowed previously but we have never had 14 jobs in a night before.
“We were mostly at residents’ properties assisting ambulances and getting casualties to hospital. We had four Land Rovers on the 14 jobs and were supported by team members who had their own 4x4 vehicles.”
Many of the group had less than three hours sleep between call-outs. While carrying out their rescues, one of the group’s vehicles was pelted with snowballs by youths in Breightmet.
Maytree Travel was forced to cancel their services on Friday evening due to the thick snow and ran partial services on Saturday. And First Manchester suffered problems with its Bolton routes due to the town centre being gridlocked.
Dedicated fans helped clear footpaths and the pitch at The Reebok to avoid the FA Cup clash against Everton being cancelled.
A police spokesman confirmed there were no major incidents for officers during the snowfall. Many officers were assisting with vehicles unable to move.
PCSO Neal Mason, who lives in Bolton, but works in Ramsbottom became stranded at work after helping free vehicles stuck in the snow, along with a health worker, from Bromley Cross. Realising they would not get home a couple from Ramsbottom offered them both a room each for the night.
He said: “We got stuck around 11.30pm on Friday. I kept looking at the snow and it got to the point where we thought we weren’t going to get home. Luckily the couple saw we were both struggling and offered us both a bed for the night. they have kids who have left home and said we would be welcome to have a room each. They gave us some homemade soup and gave me some spare clothes because my uniform was soaked from the snow. They were lovely.”
In other news:
- The overnight heavy snow has caused disruption to the delivery of Saturday's The Bolton News to many shops. It is available at some outlets but not all. If you have your copy home delivered we are endeavoring to get copies to you as quickly as possible but due to the weather conditions thus may not be until tomorrow. We apologise for any inconvenience.
- A tree fell across Blackburn Road, blocking the road. Some drivers were forced to abandon their cars and walk home since it added hours to journey times.
Wanderers fans frantically helped to clear the snow around the Reebok Stadium ahead of today's FA Cup fourth round game against Everton.
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