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Good neighbours pull together after more snowfall in Gloucestershire

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 24, 2013

  • WINTER WONDERLAND: Mike Gardiner took this stunning picture looking out over the Forest of Dean in the snow.

  • EXTREMES: A snowman on Priors Park, near Tewkesbury Abbey, which was underwater in the November floods, right.

  • BIG EFFORT: Daniel Reese made this large group of snowmen in Ruardean, with help of Ryan Dubberley. The larger figures stand up to 10ft tall.

  • EASY RIDE: Skye Goodson and Marcie Jones, both 12, on their way to the slopes.

  • ANIMAL CRACKER: Wendy Wood, from Mitcheldean, built a snow gorilla.

  • ON THE HUNT: Scott Passmore took this picture of a wild boar in the Forest of Dean.

  • PINCH OF SALT: Highways area manager John Kay in the salt dome which can hold up to 3,000 tons of rock salt at Junction 13 of the M5 and, inset, checking out a gritter heading out with a fresh load.

  • John Kay, Area Manager checks out a gritter Stroudwater County Council Highways, gritting and road salt depot, Junction 13 of M5 January 22 2013 Pic Simon Pizzey

  • GETTING CLEAR: Snow warden Carol Tilling clears paths in Longhope.

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THE big thaw might be around the corner, but that has not stopped rural communities from pulling together in the freezing conditions.

With forecasters predicting at least another 24 hours of chilly temperatures before warmer, wetter weather moves in, people in the hilly Forest and Stroud areas took matters into their own hands.

Mitcheldean pub landlord Danny Hemms and a couple of his customers worked hard shovelling snow from the town centre pavements.

Their effort came hard on the heels of a snow warden-organised ice clearance at Whiteshill, in Stroud, and informal slush sweeping carried out by householders at the nearby Paganhill estate.

Mr Hemms, 35, said he had been spurred into action after he slipped himself and then realised how bad the conditions were underfoot for his customers, particularly for elderly patrons.

"We had about six inches of snow last night," Mr Hemms said yesterday.

"It was a fair whack. I went into town and was quite disappointed. Nobody had really bothered clearing snow outside their businesses."

So Mr Hemms and customers Josh Leade and Tom Maskel spent three hours themselves clearing a 700-metre stretch of pavement near his pub, The White Horse.

Dozens of county schools remained closed, side roads stayed impassable and buses struggled to get as near to countryside locations as they were able.

Forecasters predicted lows of minus four today but with things warming up tomorrow and even a peek of sunshine over the weekend.

The worry then is where will all the water go when meltdown comes and the Environment Agency even offered tongue-in-cheek advice.

Make snowmen, it said, as large lumps of ice took longer to disperse and would slow the rate at which all the extra water entered the drainage system – and help prevent flooding.

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