Volunteers who helped those caught up in the ‘Beast from the East’ M62 motorway mayhem have been thanked at an event at Rochdale Town Hall.

Residents who attended the event included those who opened up a shelter in Butterworth Hall, Milnrow, and staff from a nearby Tesco store who distributed food and drink to cold and tired motorists.

The motorway was closed by the Highways Agency for 32 hours after heavy snowfall and high winds made a section running through Rochdale impassable.

The unprecedented scenes inspired an army of local volunteers to head out in treacherous conditions to help people affected.

Now their generosity and community spirit has been recognised by the council at a civic reception.

During the town hall event there was a presentation from the mayor, Councillor Ian Duckworth, who thanked volunteers for their efforts. Heavy snowfall in early March 2018 caused schools to close, public transport to shut down; while – despite the best efforts of the council’s gritting crews who worked round the clock, roads in higher areas became impassable.

With thousands of people stranded on the M62 overnight and temperatures below freezing, local people rallied to open shelters, provide food and drink, and rescue people using their own 4x4s.

Mark Widdup, the council’s director of neighbourhoods, said: “The borough ground to a stand still that night and only the kindness of strangers meant that people had a safe place to shelter from the horrendous weather that wreaked havoc across the country. The people recognised at this event represent the spirit of the Rochdale community and it is fantastic to see these wonderful volunteers thanked for their selfless actions.”


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