Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Snow team returns but needs new volunteers

SONNING Common’s snow team has returned and is looking for volunteers. 

The group, which is
co-ordinated by parish councillor Dirk Jones, grits pavements in the village and helps clear snow.

Cllr Jones uses his own weather station to forecast the weather 10 days in advance and alerts volunteers by text message about three days before the work is needed and again about 12 hours before. 

His home weather station includes an artificial pavement with 12 sensors so he can measure temperatures above and below ground.

He then decides whether to grit based on the temperatures and the type of snow or sleet and how likely it is to stick to the ground.

Powered ploughs and brush kits are used to clear the snow and gritting machines are used to lay the salt. 

The group has two machines and it takes about a hour to put down the salt if snow doesn’t need to be removed beforehand.  

About five people are needed per call-out and they communicate on a radio net when out.

Cllr Jones said: “If anyone has cured their bad backs since last year and wishes to join up or arm-lock a neighbour into volunteering, please contact me to be put on the call list.

“Snow ‘base’ is the village hall in Wood Lane or our storage garage in Brind’s Close. 

“Sacks weigh 20kg so no wimps please. Clothing to suit but remember this activity uses more upper body muscles so something can be unzipped for chest cooling — more people have heart attacks clearing snow due to overheating than from the cold.

“The activity is insured by the parish council but unless you’re gushing blood, it might take half a day to get an ambulance so at your own risk. The village hall has a defibrillator if you over-exercise.”

To volunteer, call Cllr Jones on 07764 407621.

 For more information and snow alerts, visit 

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