University lecturer trapped in snow

PUBLISHED: 10:50 12 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:28 10 June 2010

A UNIVERSITY lecturer from near Woodbury Salterton and her friends were forced to abandon their vehicles and take refuge in a village hall overnight - after being in the thick of last week s freak snow blizzard.

A UNIVERSITY lecturer from near Woodbury Salterton and her friends were forced to abandon their vehicles and take refuge in a village hall overnight - after being in the thick of last week's freak snow blizzard.

Last Thursday night more than 200 people were rescued after being stranded in their vehicles in blizzard conditions on the A38, at the bottom of Haldon Hill, south of Exeter.

Tina McGahey, a physiotherapist lecturer at the University of Plymouth, who lives in Oil Mill Lane between Woodbury Salterton and Clyst St Mary, was in one of two cars with seven friends coming back from a night out in Plymouth.

And at one point, dressed in their glad rags, suits and high heels after a visit to Plymouth Theatre Royal, they had to walk over a mile in snow drifts to get Chudleigh Village Hall.

Tina said: "When we left the theatre there was no sign of the snow, just a bit of rain.

"As none of us had listened to the news we hadn't a clue how bad it was."

Tina said that they had a clear run with no signs of what was to come until they were a few miles away from the Chudleigh turnoff.

"The snow just seemed to come out of nowhere," she said. "They were no signs on the road, no warning, and the cars just stopped. We must have spent two or three hours in the car.

"We were lucky because we had a full tank of fuel so we could keep the engine running all night if needed. Some weren't so lucky."

A policeman indicated that Chudleigh Village Hall, about two miles away, was being set up as an emergency shelter;

"The other car managed to drive into the village, but the road was so thick with snow and so many cars were left abandoned just we had to get out and walk.

"It was so bad you couldn't make out if people were in the cars or not."

After walking about a mile a pick-up gave them a lift to the hall, and she added:

"The snow was so beautiful, it was amazing to watch. At least I was wearing sensible shoes.

"We looked on it as a little adventure, and it was quite exciting." They finally left the hall at 12.30 the next day:

"It was amazing how positive and friendly people were at the village hall. If I have one complaint and that is signs should have been put on the A38 warning motorists.

"I now make sure I have a warm coat in the boot of my car at all times!

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