The extraordinary acts of kindness by Scotland’s snow angels

Karis Milligan,6, looks at icicles from the warmth of her grandparents house in Dunblane. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Karis Milligan,6, looks at icicles from the warmth of her grandparents house in Dunblane. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
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From a small army of Good Samaritans who helped transport doctors, nurses and carers through Scotland’s snowbound streets to the businesses which went the extra mile and offered free food to struggling families, the torrid weather conditions to hit the country in recent days has brought out the best in people.

At a time when most people wish to hunker down in the safety and comfort of their own home, hundreds of Scots have braced the freezing temperatures to help those in need, whether it has been providing a lift to patients facing a gruelling walk to hospital appointments, or sending out a tractor to ensure that one bride has a white wedding to remember.

The selfless deeds of Scotland’s so-called “snow angels” span every part of the country, from busy city centres to remote villages left cut off by the very worst of the wintry squalls. Here are some of the extaordinary acts of kindness by ordinary people.

Members of Blood Bikes Scotland, a team of volunteer motorcyclists who in good weather devote time to delivering small urgent items such as blood samples and donor baby milk, swapped two wheels for four.

During the worst of weather, some of the volunteers used 4x4 vehicles to transport staff, medical equipment, and vital supplies to hospitals in and around Edinburgh.

Alexis Aitchison from Edinburgh has been going out every night with blankets, food, and even dog coats and dog food, to help those people sleeping rough in Edinburgh as well as their pets.

Armed with a backpack and wearing a high visibility vest over her winter jacket, Ms Aitchison has been a welcome sight in the capital for those struggling in the freezing conditions, walking through Rose Street, George Street, Princes Street, Grassmarket, Lothian Road, and the Royal Mile.

Volunteers at the Glasgow adoption centre of Cats Protection, one of the country’s leading animal welfare charities, did not stop responding to calls of cats in distress. Several of the team waded through knee-deep snow drifts, pictured below, in the city to attend to calls from members of the public alerting them to animals that appeared to be in suffering in the freezing weather.

Kerry and Pete Thomson, who own a cattle and sheep farm in West Linton, put their tractor to good use during the heavy snowfalls by clearing key roads and routes in and out of the Borders village.

Ms Thomson, who also made homemade bread for her neighbours, said: “Pretty much the only other people we saw out were in tractors, out helping.”

Jamie Dickie, from Motherwell, used his Volkswagen Touareg 4x4 to help transport NHS staff and patients all over Glasgow free of charge during the amber weather warning.

Mr Dickie made a public post on Facebook advertising his availability, with friends of friends putting him in touch with health workers and those people with appointments.

He said: “Everyone I’ve picked up has been so thankful and have tried to offer me money but I refused, just want to make sure they get home or wherever they are going safely.”

Even when the weather was at its worst, Amanda Levitt, a carer in Dunbar, made sure she was there for those in need, working two successive 15-hour days.

Her kindness was repaid when, at the end of her shift late on Thursday evening, two strangers helped push her car after it became stuck in snowdrifts.

Scott Morrice, an engineer with the electricity firm, SP Energy Networks, put his company 4x4 truck to good use by giving Dr John Mackay, an A&E medic from Livingston, a lift in time for his night shift at Forth Valley Hospital in Larbert.

The kindness of the firm’s staff even extended to one of Mr Morrice’s colleagues, Alastair McNie, picking up Dr Mackay at the end of his shift to take him home.

Joe Walker, who runs a flooring firm on Glasgow’s Dumbarton Road, used his 4x4 to give NHS staff lifts to and from hospital, as well as making deliveries of food and medicine to vulnerable people.

Mr Walker drove up and down Dumbarton Road, asking people if they needed help, with his first act driving a nurse to Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank, saving her a four mile walk.

Staff from Amazing Days, pictured top left, a Glasgow-based firm which runs team building days, used their fleet of 4x4s to help doctors, nurses, and carers get to work in the freezing weather.

Ross McKinnon, the firm’s director, said they have been working “flat out” after receiving more than 1,000 messages on social media.

Julie Hartley, an early years practitioner at Kelvinside Academy in the west end of Glasgow, braved the snowy weather to visit the nursery even though it and the school it is part of were among hundreds cross the country that were closed.

The reason was not to prepare for the reopening of the class next week, but to make sure that Fluffy, the nursery’s pet lizard, was fed and watered.

As the maid of honour to her sister, Fiona, on her big day, Diane McLeod from Auchengray near Lanark woke up yesterday in a panic, realising that the bad weather meant she would struggle to get her dress to her in time for the nuptials taking place today.

After seeing her heartfelt plea on Facebook, South Lanarkshire Council sent a tractor and a van in convoy in to pick up the dress and take it to Fiona in Hamilton, ensuring she will have a white wedding to remember.

Geraldine Marsh, an associate chief nurse at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, swapped her uniform for pyjamas late Thursday, sleeping in the hospital overnight to make sure she could make her shift the next day, pictured left. Several members of nursing staff followed suit, posting images on social media of them in their nightwear enjoying a well-earned hot beverage.

Mikkel Ostberg, a tattoo artist from Livingston, helped to transport NHS staff across West Lothian, Edinburgh and Fife after the snow stuck – but found himself in trouble after his gear box got jammed.

Another good samaritan, Steve Fairley, who runs Woodside Garage in Aberdour, fixed Mr Ostberg’s car for free, allowing him to get back on the road.

Joe Beaver, a friend of care worker, Elaine McNeill, who died tragically after collapsing in the snow on Wednesday while walking to work in the Milton area of Glasgow, has launched a fundraising drive for her family.

As of yesterday evening, friends and former colleagues of Ms McNeill, who worked for Cordia, helped to pledge more than £3,000.

Land Rover owner Sheila Baxendale offered free lifts to NHS staff trying to get to hospital, as well as promising to take home workers who had no other form of transport available.

The 40-year-old from Carntyne said she had been treated in hospital four years ago after contracting meningitis, and described her good deed as a way of paying back the care showed to her by the NHS.

Staff at the First Bus depot in Larbert lent a helping hand to Michael Jones and Kirsty McKean, who are due to get married today. With the snowy weather cutting them off, the couple panicked after realising they would not able to buy vital last-minute supplies.

But the First workers, responding to a social media appeal, took snow shovels and dug the couple’s car out from a snowdrift, allowing them to get on their way and look forward to the wedding..

Chris McColl, a kind-hearted 37-year-old from Alexandria, lent a helping hand to elderly residents in the West Dunbartonshire town by going on shopping runs to help those stuck at home.

Mr McColl bought the likes of bread and milk as well as pre-paid utility cards for those unable to leave their home due to the wintry weather.

In Fife, Jim Kennedy, an engineer with SP Energy Networks, used his 4x4 to give a timely lift to two women called Frances and Jackie, both of whom work as midwives, pictured left.

Mr Kennedy drove the women to Pitteuchar medical centre in Glenrothes so they could attend vital clinics.

While there have been reports of some shops hiking up prices for food amid shortages, one firm has been widely praised for making sure those in need do not go with empty stomachs.

Allied Bakeries in the Lambhill area of north Glasgow, has distributed more than 1,000 loaves of bread to local people over the past three days, with each customer receiving two free loaves as well as fruit scones and pancakes.