The unlikely secret weapon behind Norfolk’s Beast from the East farmer army

PUBLISHED: 12:00 11 March 2018 | UPDATED: 22:23 11 March 2018

Bryony Shipsey, intermediate ambulance practioner with East of England AmbulanceTrust. Photo: Bryony Shipsey

Bryony Shipsey, intermediate ambulance practioner with East of England AmbulanceTrust. Photo: Bryony Shipsey

Bryony Shipsey

Praise has been heaped on young farmers who rushed to the aid of ambulance crews stranded in last week’s snow - thanks in part to a clever bit of admin.

A rapid response vehicle stuck in the snow near Long Stratton. Photo: Bryony ShipseyA rapid response vehicle stuck in the snow near Long Stratton. Photo: Bryony Shipsey

Generous members of the public volunteered their 4x4s, tractors and other vehicles to help those stuck in snow drifts as the Beast from the East roared.

But some of the most urgent people in need were medics trying to reach seriously ill patients, like Bryony Shipsey, an intermediate ambulance practitioner with the East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST).

Miss Shipsey, 23, and a colleague were called to a job near Long Stratton in the midst of the snow and responded in a rapid response vehicle.

She said: “The road was fine and then we hit a massive snow drift. We tried to drag the car out but it didn’t happen.”

Lucy Stowell, Norfolk Young Farmers.Lucy Stowell, Norfolk Young Farmers.

So Miss Shipsey called on her young farmer friends to help and two came to her rescue. But the scenario gave her an idea.

“I thought we could generate a list - which is now a spreadsheet - of volunteers and young farmers happy to help. Most of them had been going 24 hours to help so I got names, if they had tractors and their contact details.”

Miss Shipsey then circulated the list among EEAST colleagues.

“Of course we had plans in place,” she said. But the fact the farmers were already out and about helping meant they could easily reach stricken vehicles.

“If someone was local we could be out within 10 minutes sometimes,” Miss Shipsey said.

Since circulating the list, Miss Shipsey, of Costessey, had been congratulated by colleagues who thought it was a great idea.

Now there are 47 people on the list.

Miss Shipsey said: “One call I had from a young farmer, he said at the end of the day we’re there to help them 24 hours a day 365 days a year, so he said it was about time they helped us. I think it’s amazing.”

Lucy Stowell, chairman of Norfolk Young Farmers, said the response had made her proud. She said: “We had members on snowploughs throughout the county. One of our members was out for 36 hours straight - they did not stop - they did a phenomenal job.”

She added: “It was a real team effort, there were Snapchats and videos going around and it made me really proud because no one asked them to do it, they just had that passion, they wanted to help and keep Norfolk safe.”

Other news


Summer is seriously over, as the Met Office announces temperatures in the east of England will reach a maximum of 13C this weekend.

Yesterday, 16:44

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss championed Norwich City on a visit to the US as part of efforts to woo an American football team to relocate to the UK.

Yesterday, 16:21

A father whose two sons rely on one of the 46 children’s centres under threat of closure has urged people to make their voices heard over the controversial proposals.

Yesterday, 15:13

Airy open carriages, free fast wifi and a USB point for every passenger – Greater Anglia have unveiled the inside of their new regional trains.

Most Read

Yesterday, 13:45

The first residents have moved into new affordable homes in Narborough, near Swaffham, which are part of a £4.3 million investment project.

Read more
Breckland Council
Thu, 18:30

People fear their town is “dying” after it was announced that one of its two banks is closing.

Read more
Post Office
Yesterday, 15:07

Ever since that fateful day in June 2016, questions have been asked over just what the people of the United Kingdom - and Norfolk - had voted for.

Read more
European Union
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

An animal charity volunteer is hoping to have her most successful rehoming event.

Read more
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Police investigating a robbery which saw a teenager stripped of her boots and jumpers have released this image of a man they would like to speak to in connection with the crime.

Read more

Local Weather

Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 9°C

Digital Edition

Read the Watton and Swaffham Times e-edition today

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Watton and Swaffham Times weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy