A family caught in last week's M6 chaos has thanked the good Samaritans of Lancashire who came to their aid when a journey to Blackpool turned into a traumatic trip.
Simone Cleghorn and her partner Stuart Foster, from Selkirk in the Scottish borders, were heading down for a day at Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach, with nine-year-old daughter Rhea-Marie and her pal Miah when the M6 was brought to a standstill after a lorry crashing into a bridge between Broughton and Galgate.
And just to make a bad situation worse, the clutch on their car broke.
They managed to get the car to the hard shoulder, but they were stuck there in searing heat at 11.30am, with the AA unable to reach them because of the accident.
Fortunately, they had left their seven-month-old daughter at home with a sitter. Simone said: “It was so hot waiting around, but the girls were doing well.
“Lorry drivers gave us water, crisps and sweets for the girls and police bikers kept coming past to make sure we were okay."
Seven scorching hours later, there was still no chance the AA could reach them, but the family was helped by several helpful locals, who ensured they had water.
However, they were getting hungry, until Jenna Barnes, a care co-ordinator from Lancaster asked if there was anything she could do for them.
Simone said: “Jenna was lovely. I expressed my concerns about the girls not having anything proper to eat and she offered to send someone to the chippy to get us food.”
Simone also told her that they had to get back home soon because their seven-month-old daughter was waiting for them.
Eventually, a plan was hatched to get the family off the motorway, up a large bank and over a fence to wait on a bridge, so they could meet up with a taxi, which would take them home.
Simone added: “We were picked up by a taxi at 9.30pm that brought us home, arriving back at 11.45pm.”
Jenna has now shared the story on Facebook to see if she could find out if the family made it home safe.
And, despite Jenna not knowing Simone’s full name, the two were connected quickly. Simone commented: “Messaged you Jenna. you did a fantastic job yesterday! x”
As for the extreme kindness shown by all the Lancastrians, Jenna told the Southern Reporter: “I was happy to help.
“I’ve been in that situation myself with no help and it was awful with kids in the car.”