Volunteers praised for working in freezing cold to help Leighton-Linslade residents collect water

Kind-hearted volunteers rallied to the rescue on Saturday and Sunday, helping to speed up the delivery of water to Leighton-Linslade residents.

On December 14, as Anglian Water battled to fix a faulty valve, Beds and Cambs 4×4 Response and Midshires Search and Rescue were helping to give out bottled water to grateful families queuing at Tesco, in Vimy Road.

Anglian Water staff had set up two distribution points, one at the supermarket and one at Brooklands Social Club, but the volunteer teams also delivered to a couple of care homes whose residents couldn’t reach them.
Graham Mountford, 56, volunteer commander at Bedfordshire Local Emergency Volunteers Executive Committee (BLEVEC), said: “The volunteers made a huge difference to people who were already stressed, being able to speed everything up, and working with a smile on their faces. But it wasn’t glamorous, it was hard, cold, work.

“You don’t realise just how dependant we are on water.”

However, with the problem still not fixed on Sunday, further reinforcements were called in, with the 4×4 Response team working hard to deliver water from the Brooklands site (where water had returned) to Tesco, while the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA), of Milton Keynes, helped at Vimy Road.

Graham added: “On Sunday morning at 8.30am there were 200 people waiting for water, but not many palettes – and one palette only serves 40 people – so the 4×4 Response fetched more from MK.

“Meanwhile, the guys from AMYA were running water straight to people’s cars, turning round in five minutes what had been taking one hour.”

BLEVEC was set up by CBC Emergency Planning to manage voluntary responses in the event of a crisis, with Graham and some of its other members working to co-ordinate the volunteer groups, or as the commanders at the distribution points.

Local Youth leader from AMYA, Saeed Nazir, said: “Whether it’s flooding, fires or any other disaster. Let our neighbours know that we will help you on every occasion as it is our religious obligation to go above and beyond for our neighbours.

“Regardless of whether you are Muslim or not, we are there to help our fellow brothers and sisters.”

> Would you like to join BLEVEC? Graham advises that you contact Central Beds Council to find out more!

> If you are a community member who needs assistance or help with a task, please contact the LBO who can put you in touch with AMYA.
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