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Thousands stranded on M25

27 August 2009

Volunteers and staff on the M25 helping stranded motoristsMatt Smith (BRC)Thousands of motorists were left stranded after the M25 came to a standstill in Surrey. A diesel spill caused the motorway to be closed between junctions eight and six after a lorry collided with a car, causing tailbacks for hours.

The Red Cross was called out by the Highways Agency to help motorists stuck in their cars. Twenty Red Cross volunteers and staff from London and Surrey travelled down the hard shoulder handing out water, food and other essentials to around 300 people.

Providing support

John Drudge, fire and emergency support service co-ordinator, said: “We were able to provide baby food and milk, a lot of water, warm clothing, and blankets. We gave out lots of chocolate to keep people going! One of the crews provided support to a family with a baby that was having breathing difficulties. The crew I was with helped a lady who was very hypothermic. The Surrey crew was out for some seven hours and returned home at 2.15am.

“The Red Cross is needed in incidents like this. Without us the people who had difficulties stuck in the long tailbacks would have no support. People are generally pleasantly surprised when we turn up."

There in any crisis

He continued: "We dealt with a young couple with a baby, who's car had broken down. I noticed they just couldn’t stop staring at the Red Cross emblem on the side of our response vehicle. They weren’t English, they were Asian. They obviously recognised the Red Cross symbol; it meant something to them, but they couldn’t believe the Red Cross would come out to help them on the side of the motorway."

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