Community unites together to tackle Storm Ciara in the Harborough district

Farmers and villagers banded together to clear a Harborough road of a 100ft ash tree on Sunday as Storm Ciara tore across the district.

Monday, 10th February 2020, 10:40 am
Updated Monday, 10th February 2020, 12:23 pm

Local people dashed to help after the giant tree was dramatically poleaxed across the Claybrooke Magna-Lutterworth road by huge winds.

Volunteer Jason Woodcock, of Ullesthorpe, said at least 10 Good Samaritans – backed up by a serving soldier – raced to the scene as 60mph winds ripped through Leicestershire.

The businessman told the Harborough Mail: “It was a fantastic community effort.

“This huge tree suddenly collapsed across a little hump-backed bridge at about 9am on Sunday morning.

“It totally blocked the road.

“One of the guys put out an alert out on Ullesthorpe Facebook and villagers immediately rallied to the cause.”

Jason, the managing director of top drone company UAS Flight Ops, added: “Six people had chainsaws.

“So we cut the tree into pieces and a farmer called David turned up with a Manitou forklift to haul the logs away and re-open the road.

“We also had a soldier from the army who said he’d been sent to help out.

“There we were battling away in the teeth of gale-force winds.

“It was cold and it was hammering down but people just got stuck in and got the job done.

“The guys were taking away chunks of the tree for firewood – it’ll keep them going all winter!”

The 999 services were kept at full stretch all day Sunday after Storm Ciara blew into the East Midlands late on Saturday night.

Firefighters attended at least 35 incidents all over Leicestershire – and helped to tackle over 30 fallen trees.

Fire crews also removed a dangerous chimney from a house in Kibworth as the devastating weather bomb also left a trail of structural damage across the county.

At some point on Sunday fallen trees blocked the Kibworth road between Fleckney and Saddington and the Arnesby road between Fleckney and Saddington.

Leicestershire Police said they dealt with 218 weather-related incidents throughout the county on Sunday and Monday morning.

A police spokeswoman said: “We’ve been run off our feet – it’s been so busy.”

Flooding was a threat too with the River Welland bursting its banks in Welland Park in Market Harborough and many country roads left under water after repeated rainstorms.

Leicestershire County Council highways’ teams have been working round-the-clock in the face of Storm Ciara.

The council said it had received over 60 storm damage reports by Sunday lunchtime as a string of roads were closed.

Highways chiefs were forced to draft in extra gangs to support the massive effort as workers were overwhelmed by emergency call-outs.