A man has been hailed a “knight in shining armour” after he pulled 20 trapped cars from the snow at the weekend.
Stuart Down, 32, from Middle Lane in Epsom and owner of Stuart Motors, spent six hours on Sunday rescuing the stricken vehicles, their drivers and passengersfrom as snow storms hit Epsom Downs – including an elderly pensioner with a heart condition.
One woman said she thought she would die after the car she was travelling in with her husband and two friends got stuck in the snow on the Downs.
Anne Jones, 51, of Alexander Road, Epsom, said: “I was driving and suddenly I saw this mound of snow and I went straight into it.
“The road across the top of the Downs was filling up with snow and unless you had a 4x4 you had no chance.
“We didn’t realise how bad it had got. It was so windy the snow was coming horizontally. On your face it felt like needles.
“I have never been to Siberia but I would imagine it was like that.”
Mrs Jones’s husband attempted to dig the car out but described the snow as “like concrete”.
She said: “We sat there and thought, What do we do now?
“I just remember this sinking feeling. We were blocking the road and nobody else could get through.
“If we had got out and left the car someone could have driven into it and that was the other worry.”
Then, through the foggy blizzard, an orange flashing light appeared as Mr Down came to their rescue in his 4x4. He spent an hour helping to free the car and was eventually able to tow it back to a car park before driving both couples to their homes. Mrs Jones said: “We asked how much we owed him and he said there was no charge and he was out anyway so it was no big deal.
“My husband gave him some money but didn’t have much on him and he felt awful.
“I just thought he deserved to have someone say thank you publically for what he was doing. I was completely bowled over and it’s lovely there are still people like him around.”
Earlier in the day Mr Down had helped an elderly couple, including a man with a heart condition, who were attempting to walk home in the blizzard after their car became stuck on the Downs.
Mr Down said: “Their car had got stuck on the hill up the Downs.
“I towed it up to the top and made sure they got home OK.”
Mr Down, who said he had done the same in previous years, broke four towropes pulling vans from the snow throughout the day. He said: “There were loads of different people and vehicles that had got stuck.
“The majority of people I just towed to level ground so they could get going again and they were very thankful.
“If you come across people like that, the way I see is if you can help them, then why not?
“A couple of people gave me a bit of money but that wasn’t what it was about.
“As far as I’m concerned I had the ability to get people home and it was all people who were taken by shock.
“It wasn’t people out messing about.
“It’s just nice to know these people didn’t have to walk home because it was really bitterly cold.”