Farmer Jim's a knight in shining armour for stranded County Durham motorists (From The Northern Echo)
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Farmer Jim's a knight in shining armour for stranded motorists
TO motorists stranded in last week's snow, farmer Jim Smith has been a knight in shining armour.
Jim and his Zetor tractor came to the rescue of drivers who were caught out by conditions on a country road in a remote corner of County Durham throughout the cold snap.
Mr Smith, 54, even came to the aid of a fire engine which slid onto the grass verge as it attempted to reach a car that had got stuck.
Mr Smith works 700 acres at West Carr Farm and nearby South Shields Farm, just north of Tow Law, and is used to conditions along Inkerman Road, which runs to Cornsay Colliery.
In last week's cold snap, the most serious incident he helped with was on Friday afternoon, when several cars got stuck trying to navigate a steep bank just past his farms.
A fire service 4x4 had already evacuated one party from a Toyota Rav4 and an appliance from Crook was sent to try to help others.
Mr Smith explained: “I actually spotted the car of someone I know. He was in some difficulty. I went along to help and that was when I saw the fire engine. It had slid onto the grass verge.
“The officers asked me if I could go further along and help another car with people in it which was stuck.
“There were actually three cars altogether – the two cars ahead of that with the people in it had been abandoned.”
Having towed the car to safety, Mr Smith was then joined by his son Richard, 24, on another tractor and they helped the fire appliance back onto the road.
“It was easier with the two of us to get the job done safely,” he said.
Mr Smith said it was the steep bank combined with difficult driving conditions that had caught motorists out.
He said he had been coming to the aid of motorists since the first big snowfall on Monday, January 21.
“Earlier in the week, there were cars stuck on that bank. It has been one of those weeks when people have gone along not realising how bad it was," he said.
“The road gets ploughed now and again, but there is never any salt or grit put down. It would have been better if a 'road closed' sign had been put up.”
Mr Smith, who keeps 300 beef cattle and 1,200 sheep, added: “I need to get up and down this bank to feed the animals.
“If you came up today with the sun shining and the ice melting, you would think nothing like this would happen."
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