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Grantham couple reunited with crew who delivered baby in stranded ambulance

Sarah Anderton and partner Gareth Barrett with daughter Emily, 4, and baby Arlo.
Sarah Anderton and partner Gareth Barrett with daughter Emily, 4, and baby Arlo.

A mum has been reunited with the ambulance crew who delivered her baby when their vehicle and ambulance became stuck in the snow.

Sarah Anderton, 30, of Lindisfarne Way, Grantham, was 39 weeks pregnant with her second child when she started having contractions on February 27.

From left, paramedic James Olgesby, technician Philip Lane, Sarah Anderton with baby Arlo, Gareth Barrett and four-year-old Emily, emergency call taker Lucy Channer and Simon Greeves, gritter from Kier.
From left, paramedic James Olgesby, technician Philip Lane, Sarah Anderton with baby Arlo, Gareth Barrett and four-year-old Emily, emergency call taker Lucy Channer and Simon Greeves, gritter from Kier.

With each contraction getting stronger, Sarah and partner Gareth Barrett, 33, decided to set off for Peterborough City Hospital just before midnight.

Sarah, a teacher at Huntingtower Primary Academy, said: “The weather was absolutely fine in Grantham but we were quickly hit by a snow blizzard as we drove down the A1 towards Stamford.”

Worried they would not make it to the hospital, Gareth called 999 and reached emergency call taker Lucy Channer, who spent the next three hours on the phone to the couple as she tried to direct them to the ambulance on a side road away from the dual carriageway.

But the couple’s car had become gridlocked in traffic and stuck in the snow on the A1.

Unable to move, Simon Greaves, a gritter from Kier who was working on behalf of Highways England on the A1 in his gritting machine, offered to help.

Simon said: “One of my colleagues told me about the lady in labour so I approached the couple to offer my assistance.

“Along with my colleague, we spent the next three hours playing jenga with the traffic on the A1 as we tried to move cars out of the way to give the couple space to move their car. It took us three hours to move 800 yards to the slip road. The majority of the motorists were understanding once they heard why we needed them to move.”

Sarah added: “One man who worked at a laundrette even arrived at my car door with lots of towels.”

After finally leaving the A1, the couple parked in a side street in Stamford to wait for the ambulance to find them.

Duty operations manager Rachael Wallace was first on scene, shortly followed by ambulance crew paramedic James Olgesby and technician Philip Lane.

Phillip said: “We were just about to give up as we were slipping and sliding everywhere when we finally spotted them.”

After getting Sarah in the back of the ambulance, it soon became apparent that the baby was going to arrive sooner than expected. Within ten minutes of the ambulance crew arriving, baby Arlo arrived at 4.30am on February 28, weighing 7lb 12 ounces - in the back of the ambulance.

Paramedic James, who helped deliver Arlo, said: “I knew that he was going to arrive any minute. I have delivered more than 10 babies throughout my career and you develop a certain intuition.”

Despite Arlo’s traumatic arrival, the family were not out of the woods yet.

James added: “We still needed to get mum and baby to hospital. We were debating about whether to take them to Kettering Hospital or Peterborough as part of the A1 was now shut.”

Having just given birth in the back of an ambulance, Sarah was keen to reach hospital.

She said: “Everybody had said we were going to leave to go to the hospital but I remember thinking we are not moving.”

Rachael added: “We started trying to move but due to vehicles being stuck everywhere we soon had to stop and became stuck ourselves. We tried putting the snow socks on the ambulance until a gentleman from close by came to help with his 4X4. He pulled us out.”

When the ambulance became unstuck Sarah was finally transported to Peterborough hospital for her and Arlo to be checked over.

Sarah said: “I was sat in the hospital ward, holding Arlo thinking, did this really just happen to us? I am grateful to everybody that day for their help. It will be a great story to tell Arlo for years to come.”

After spending the night in hospital, the couple were able to return home the next day with baby Arlo, where he was introduced to big sister Emily, 4.

Sarah, Gareth, Emily and baby Arlo, who is now six-weeks-old were reunited with the ambulance crew, Lucy and Simon at Grantham Ambulance Station on Friday where they were all delighted to get a cuddle with Arlo.

Lucy said: “It was a memorable call that I and the rest of my team will never forget. It was great to be able to meet everybody and put a face to the voice on the end of the phone. I have received lots of labour calls in my time as a call handler and have delivered two babies over the phone and I really thought that baby Arlo would be my third.”

Gritter Simon Greaves travelled to Grantham from Stamford for the reunion.

He said: “It has been great to be able to see the baby and know that everything turned out ok. I have to admit that I have never had a shift quite like that before. Once we knew that we had helped them off the A1, it was business as usual as we had roads to grit, so it has been great to get the opportunity to meet baby Arlo.”


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