Tyne & Wear

Holburn village 'buried' under 3ft of snow

Holburn. Three miles from the nearest B road and with a population of 12 - all of them perfectly entitled to the occasional snigger when they hear of the snowy horrors of the towns and cities.

Milkman late this morning? Holburn has had it worse. Here, the milkman got through this morning for the first time in six days.

Snow around your ankles? Holburn has had it worse. Three foot of snow everywhere and drifting to seven feet in places.

Bus cancelled? Holburn has had it worse. Nobody could get in or out until a local farmer turned up with his snowplough, and every fresh fall of snow means the villagers are trapped again.

Lilian Moffat is 81 and has lived in Holburn since her wedding day 56 years ago.

She said: "I haven't been out at all - but my son who has got sheep on the moor has been over several times and done bits of shopping for me.

"But we got the milkman this morning - first time in six days."

There also exists here a belief that people elsewhere are all a little too keen to make things more dramatic than they really are. Including the weather forecasters.

Image caption Northumberland has put up with several feet of snow

Music teacher Liz Breckons, unable to get out of the village and reach her school - which is closed anyway - said: "We didn't believe the forecast - sometimes it gets exaggerated.

"But it has been absolutely spot on and overwhelming."

Six miles away is the metropolis of Belford, with its population of 1,000.

Here the locals have organised what they refer to as "The Shovel Squad" - down comes the snow, and out comes the squad to clear the village footpaths.

They know that their streets cannot be a priority for the gritters, so they simply do the job themselves.

One of those in charge is Reg Carruthers, who said: "Everybody has been really good and mixed in, and everybody is helping."

And if anyone in Holburn or Belford is tempted to moan about the snow, they might want to listen to Lilian.

She remembers leaving for work at the Ministry of Labour in Ashington, Northumberland, one day in 1947 - and not being able to get back home for nine weeks.

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