Snow joke for mum-to-be who was stranded in Shropshire's big freeze of 1982

The fortieth anniversary of Shropshire's big freeze brought memories flooding back for Sheila Warren.

Sheila Warren and baby son Alex
Sheila Warren and baby son Alex

In January of 1982, when the county set a record with the lowest temperature ever seen in England (-26.1C), Sheila was expecting her second child and living in Cardington near Church Stretton.

She said it was on January 8, the due date for the baby, when the winter started to bite.

"The snow fell heavily and drifted so much that our single track lane on the outskirts of Cardington became completely blocked - the drifts were taller than the hedges," she said.

"We had a Land Rover but there was no way it would get through, we were stranded.

"The next five days were interesting to say the least.

"The local bobby who lived in the village was having kittens in case he was expected to somehow get through to our house and deliver my baby, while my husband was hoping for a helicopter rescue to take us to hospital and began sizing up the local fields for a suitable helipad.

"I just kept thinking 'hot water and towels' and kept my legs firmly crossed. Our one neighbour was a mother of five so I hoped she would be a safe bet for assistance.

"Each day I prayed the thaw would happen, but no, the temperature remained stubbornly low."

Alex's older brother Tom and Dad Paul in the snow

Sheila said the breakthrough came four days later.

"In the early hours of January 12 we were awoken by flashing lights and a loud engine noise. A team from the quarry on Wenlock Edge had worked through the night to clear our lane. I was so relieved, the least I could do was get up and cook breakfast for them all.

"Still no sign of any labour twinges, we decided to chance the icy roads into Church Stretton to stock up on supplies, which were running a bit low. All the bumping around on the roads did the trick and my labour started.

"Wasting no time we headed for the hospital but encountered a car load of local farmers on their way home from market. As the driver hit the brakes their vehicle smashed into ours and lodged itself on our bumper. My husband shouted that I was in labour and they needed to get out of the way.

"We managed to get to Copthorne in the end and son number two was delivered safely the following morning."

Once home with her new baby, Alex, Sheila said even the thaw caused problems.

"I was feeding Alex up in the bedroom when drips of water fell from the light bulb, which was switched on, straight on to his little head. The blizzards had blown snow into our attic, under the tiles filling the roof space, unknown to us, and it was thawing and dripping down via the electric circuit."

She said her son was left with an affinity for snow that remains today.

"Alex can very often be found in the highlands of Scotland and he has spent many years with the Lomond and Trossachs Mountain Rescue team."

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