Army of volunteers takes supplies to drivers stranded on M62 for up to 18 hours

The winter misery for motorists continued on Friday with dozens of cars, vans and lorries still trapped on England's snowbound highest motorway.

The military has been drafted in to help rescue vehicles from the Pennine hills on the M62, which police said is closed "indefinitely" between Rochdale, Lancashire, and Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

Drivers and passengers spent up to 18 hours in their vehicles amid sub-zero temperatures and gale-force winds reaching 90mph.

But a small army of volunteers in Milnrow, Rochdale, braved the conditions to take hot drinks, food and blankets to those left stranded and opened up a community centre and their own homes for those seeking refuge.

Winter weather March 2nd 2018
A community centre in Milnrow, Greater Manchester, opened its doors for those needing shelter from the snow (Eleanor Kelly/PA)

Lorry driver Carl Drennan, 29, spent the night in his cab at Hartshead Moor service station on the M62, after being stuck on the road for around 15 hours.

Mr Drennan, from Wythenshawe, Manchester, started work at 5am on Thursday and was on his way back over the Pennines from Yorkshire when traffic on the motorway ground to a halt at around 6pm.

He said: "I was just thinking it is only going to get worse, so I thought I will go into a shop and spend £15 or £20 on groceries.

Winter weather March 2nd 2018
Traffic queueing to leave the M62 after the road was closed between junctions 21 and 24 as the extreme weather continued to wreak havoc (Danny Lawson/PA)

"A few people came for some bits last night. An Asian lad was shouting 'Brother, give us some food' so I gave him some brioche.

"There was a lady who had babies with her, she was messaging if there was anyone with water. I walked about a quarter of a mile to find her but the weather was just that bad I couldn't go any further but we managed to get help to her through Twitter."

He added: "It's just part of the job sometimes.

"You have got bills to pay. There was no warning to say 'Don't drive' when I set off, it was just 'Be careful'.

"That to a transport manager says 'Give it a go, if it gets too bad, pull over'."

Winter weather March 2nd 2018
A closed section of the M62 near Kirklees, West Yorkshire (Danny Lawson/PA)

Dave Webb, 37, from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, said he had been stuck for about 10 hours.

He said: "We came to a halt at about 5.30pm last night and have been here since.

"We brought water, snacks and blankets for myself and my wife, and have plenty of petrol, but we just want to be home now."

Local volunteer Eleanor Kelly, 19, said about 30 people had braved the conditions to take supplies up the hill to the motorway - including to a father with a baby and toddler in the car.

She said: "We've been trying to get to as many people as we can in about a mile radius from where we can get to the carriageway.

"We even had to warm up some hot milk for a guy stuck at the junction with two children.

"We knocked on his car and he had a five-week-old baby and what must have been a one- or two-year-old girl in the car with him.

"It's been amazing to see so many people turning out to help us - it's quite impressive to see."

Heard reports someone in a grey Transit-type van is trying to cash-in on people stranded in traffic near the M62 motorway by selling cups of tea for £1. Please be aware these are not council staff and we (and volunteers) are handing out drinks for free where we are able to.

-- Rochdale Council (@RochdaleCouncil) March 2, 2018

However, not everyone has been so community-spirited.

Rochdale Council tweeted: "Heard reports someone in a grey Transit-type van is trying to cash in on people stranded in traffic near the M62 motorway by selling cups of tea for £1 ... these are not council staff and we (and volunteers) are handing out drinks for free."

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