As reported by The Morning Advertiser, staff at Cornwall’s Jamaica Inn – made famous by Daphne Du Maurier’s novel of the same name – came to the rescue of more than 100 motorists stranded overnight on Bodmin Moor by heavy snowfall on 31 January.
The inn, which has 36 hotel rooms, staff accommodation as well as a reserve of mattresses and blow-up beds, became a sanctuary for 140 people in total who became trapped in vulnerable locations on the A30.
The pub’s general manager Sammy Wheeler and staff worked through the night to create makeshift dormitories across the site, provided hot food and drink, and also assisted people through the snow the following morning to recover their vehicles.
Highways England, the company that maintains the A30, deployed 48 gritters and six tractors over three days to counter the effects of the severe weather in the south-west using 1,700 tonnes of salt – enough to cover the Land’s End to John o’Groats route 32 times – in the region alone.
Above and beyond
Highways England has since recognised the work of the Jamaica Inn’s staff with the presentation of a Customer Award for Services to the Welfare of Motorists.
Paying tribute to the the Jamaica Inn, Andrew Page-Dove, south-west regional director for Highways England, said: “Motorists in Cornwall experienced some pretty hazardous conditions last week and we too faced some real challenges across our network when a combination of incidents and a heavier -than-anticipated snow event led to many drivers finding themselves stranded.
“We worked hard with Devon & Cornwall Police and Cornwall Council to free many drivers and get the A30 moving – two of our inspectors in fact, James Andrew and Trevor Holloway, spent eight and a half hours in the snow helping to free people and get them moving up Temple Hill.
“During that time the offer of accommodation from the Jamaica Inn was very welcome. Sammy and the team, as with our teams and many others that evening, went above and beyond their usual shift.
“At Highways England, the safety and welfare of our customers is our top priority and that’s why we felt this exceptional provision of welfare deserved special recognition.”
Jamaica Inn owner Allen Jackson added: “The Inn has helped many travellers in need over the 270 years of its history when wild and unexpected weather has hit.
“On this occasion, we were able to give, without charge, a combination of emergency beds, mattresses, settees and even just carpet space when we ran out of everything else.
“All had a blanket, we kept the kitchen and three log fires going all night and Sammy and her staff were quite remarkable.
“The way we see it is we are just continuing this tradition but it’s nice to be recognised and we’re delighted to receive this award from Highways England – it will take pride of place at the inn.”