ALMOST every school in Huddersfield closed yesterday as snow struck the town hard.
People struggled to get into work and many gave up and stayed at home while all bin collections were cancelled with crews helping to grit roads instead.
One of around 10 schools to open was Rowley Lane Junior, Infant and Nursery School in Lepton.
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Acting headteacher Jenny Shore said just over 70 children turned up out of nearly 500.
Normally 50 staff would turn up but yesterday nearly 20 made it in – some of whom had walked from Lindley to the town centre before catching a bus in to Lepton.
Miss Shore said: “It’s been a great day. The caretaker was able to clear an access path and we split into groups. We put together a timetable though it had to be very different from normal as we had to mix Key stage groups together.
“The playground was too tempting and as well as IT sessions we had an outdoor play session and a snowman building competition.”
Kirklees gritters worked non-stop to keep major roads clear, but side roads had to take their chances.
Main roads shut because of snow are the A6024 Holme Moss, the A640 New Hey Road at Scammonden and the A635 Greenfield Road above Holmfirth.
Public transport across West Yorkshire was badly affected with Metro reporting many services suspended.
A Kirklees Council spokesman said yesterday: “Gritters are continuing to widen and make safe the priority routes and bus routes and hand teams are out in many town centres and village areas with health centres and doctors surgeries to be treated as soon as possible.
“All the major bus stations have now been treated by hand and we are working to ensure public transport is maintained.
“The forecast is for more snow and if this is the case it may not be possible to begin treating the secondary routes.
“ We would ask the public to take great care on untreated roads.
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“The ranger team are working with self help groups and then moving onto doctors surgeries and other community facilities.
“Refuse collection has been suspended for Monday and all staff will assist with hand gritting.
“This will add to the numbers and there will be between 300 and 400 staff now on the hand gritting teams throughout Kirklees.”
Hand gritting teams and JCBs were out in all Kirklees town centres including Milnsbridge, Honley, Holmfirth, Salendine Nook, Paddock, Almondbury, Golcar, Longwood, Marsh, Lindley and Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, Netherton, Meltham, Marsh, Birkby, Paddock, Bradley, Fixby, Woodhouse, Fartown, Moldgreen, Almondbury, Kirkheaton and Slaithwaite.
In neighbouring Calderdale it was a similar picture with dozens of schools closed, but 18 managed to open their doors to pupils.
Among those open were Longroyde Junior School and Carr Green Primary in Rastrick and Old Earth School in Elland where staff exhorted children and parents to “bring your sledges!”.
Very much closed was Kirklees College in New North Road with staff informing students yesterday lunchtime that it would remain closed today.
A Calderdale Council spokeswoman said yesterday: “We have had 30 gritters out since 6pm on Sunday and we are still out gritting the main roads.
“All precautionary roads are now, and have been since early morning, open and passable, except Cragg Road at Mytholmroyd, which is closed due to drifting snow.”
And Kirklees Council leader Mehboob Khan yesterday warned residents to beware the dangers of freezing, icy roads as temperatures were set to plunge last night.
“I’m worried about freezing temperatures with all the slush and thawing snow,” he said.
“The prediction is for temperatures to drop to minus four tonight which will make some of our roads extremely icy and that causes far greater risk than slush. My car is parked up and my advice would be to people who do need to go out to use public transport wherever possible.
“And I would ask them to be patient and bear with us. Keeping arterial roads open is our priority. We have been taking care to look after vulnerable people in remote areas and using 4x4 vehicles to enable NHS community care staff to visit them.
“At the moment it is a novel experience and lots of families have been out enjoying the snow – sledging down Clayton Fields which has been very busy.
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“As for bin collections the manager is making his decisions on a day-to-day basis and grey bins are being prioritised. The vehicle refuse collector weighs 40 tonnes and no-one wants that being lost control of.
“Staff are doing a magnificent job and I have been in touch with other West Yorkshire leaders who report very similar situations to our own.
“On Tuesday we are hoping to grit some of the side roads so I would ask residents to consider how they park their cars to allow a 10ft snow plough to get through.”
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust reported few problems as staff did their best to get in to work.
A trust spokesman said: “It was a great all-round effort by our staff in very difficult weather conditions.
“Some of our estates staff came in two hours early to make sure our hospital paths and roads were clear for our visitors and patients.
“As a result the trust coped with minimum disruption for patients on a hugely difficult day.”
TWO caterers walked through the snow and ice for more than three hours to keep staff and visitors fed at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
Dining room supervisor Sharon Rodgers and catering assistant Bev Nicholson have never missed a day due to bad weather in more than 50 years’ experience between them.
Sharon started the five-mile trip from Cleckheaton at 6.30am yesterday and met up with Bev at Roberttown.
They then walked in, arriving at about 9.45am. They braved slush and drenchings along the way as lorries passed them, but ploughed on through the heavy snow.
Sharon said: “I couldn’t get the car onto a main road and could see others sliding around and I just thought I couldn’t risk it.
I never thought I wouldn’t get in. You always try to get in, in case others haven’t.”
Head of catering and laundry Andrew Donegan said: “This was tremendous effort. Another of our team made it on foot from Meltham and others came in from outlying areas. I am very proud of our catering and laundry teams who ensured we were able to provide our normal service.”