WHEN 68-year-old East Grinstead resident Michael Emms was widowed in January last year he kept the promise he had made to his late wife Rita and bought a new car.
In the weeks leading up to Rita’s death from cancer, the couple had received “wonderful” support from nurses who had come day and night, in all weathers, to help care for her.
One day Michael asked a member of the nursing team what they did when the weather was very bad and she said “We call on Sussex 4×4 Response and they drive us around.”
So three months after Rita died, Michael decided that the new car Rita had urged him to buy would be a Mazda 4×4 so that he could volunteer to join the charity of trained responders who are available 24/7/365 across Sussex to help the emergency services in treacherous weather.
The charity provides vital back up transport for the NHS, police, and council workers who need to get to and from work in bad weather Providing reliable 24hr transport when other rescue services are stretched, Sussex 4×4 Response offers a comprehensive local service to doctors, paramedics and local authorities in getting people where they need to be.
“Our aim is to provide a service in bad weather that is constantly available,” said a spokesman.
“The team is made up of highly-trained volunteers who give up their time and skills, and the use of their 4×4 vehicles, to serve the community in emergencies.”
There are currently about 200 members spread across East & West Sussex who are equipped and ready to respond at any time, we are best known for driving in the snow but they are also experienced in other emergencies including floods, and going off-road in places normal cars couldn’t reach.
Michael has yet to do an emergency run, but he has helped with marshalling local events, and if the snow starts to fall, he’ll be on standby to do whatever he can to keep the town running.
“The nurses who looked after my wife came from East Grinstead, Crawley and Haywards Heath and they were absolutely wonderful,” he said. “So this is my way of giving something back.”
The group welcomes new members and all agencies to get in touch if they feel they need help this winter.
For more information please visit: www.sussex4x4response.org.uk