THE ambulance service has thanked search and rescue volunteers for coming to the aid of crew members who became stranded in heavy snow in Stourbridge on Saturday.

Members of the Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) were deployed to help move ambulances which became stuck in Foxcote Lane, a country lane on the Cradley/Wollescote border, which had been left impassable by substantial snow drifts.

Stourbridge News:

The first ambulance became stranded at around 7.12am. Snow stuck cars were reportedly blocking the way and paramedics en route to a stroke patient found themselves unable to reverse out of the lane – so volunteers from SARA were drafted in to help.

A spokesman for SARA (Wyre Forest) said the early morning call to Foxcote Lane was the third job of the day for the rescue charity, adding: “The crew arrived on scene to find an ambulance stuck in snow at the bottom of a hill on the narrow, single track Foxcote Lane.

“In front of the ambulance was an unoccupied 4x4 buried in a snow drift, which prevented any access of a plough.

“The ambulance was dug out and towed, using SARA’s 4x4s, several hundred metres back up the hill to the main road.

“The recovery took around two hours to complete. It was made more complicated in that there was no space to turn around so all recovery vehicles had to reverse down the lane, and the ambulance had to be towed backwards uphill.

“The owner of the car arrived after recovery of the ambulance and the crew returned to dig out the car from the snow drift which was also towed back to the main road.”

Later that day SARA members were again called out to the same country lane to help free another ambulance which became stuck at 12.40pm en route to a patient. But in this case, after earlier efforts, the rescue mission was completed within 40 minutes.

In both cases – the snow-stranded ambulance crew members were stood down and another emergency vehicle deployed to reach the patients.

A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said of the drama: “We’re very grateful to the members of the public and volunteers who assisted our ambulances in being able to get to patients through some horrendous weather conditions.

“Due to the high winds and heavy falls of snow there were some huge snow drifts which made it very difficult for our vehicles to get to patients and on some occasions crews had to abandon the vehicle and walk to reach patients.

Stourbridge News:

“Thanks to all the assistance we received we were able to reach every patient and provide medical care to them.”

Stourbridge News:

SARA volunteers, l-r, Nick Harvey, Katie Harris, Reg Pitts, Sam Humphriss, James Harris

Estate agent Andrew Hipkiss, who volunteers for SARA and has been doing his bit to raise awareness of the Kidderminster based rescue charity, was among the team members deployed to help and he said: “I’ve done snow cover before but it’s the first time I’ve helped to pull an ambulance out.”

People can find out more about SARA online at or by going to their Facebook page (Severn Area Rescue Association - Wyre Forest Station) which includes regular updates and pictures of call outs.