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Villagers help truck drivers stuck on the M20 in Kent by lowering packages of groceries from the motorway bridge


Kent villagers are helping feed stranded truck drivers lined up along the highway by lowering bags of groceries to them from bridges.

They use rope and shopping bags to supply stranded truck drivers waiting for Covid tests with goods like beans, fruit and candy.

Hundreds of freight forwarders are standing on the M20 as part of Operation Stack, waiting for a negative test result before they can make their way to the continent.

It did after French President Emmanuel Macron ordered the border with Great Britain to be closed on Saturday after a new virulent strain of coronavirus was discovered in the UK.

British testers found only three Covid cases among the 2,364 drivers swabbed so far.

French firefighters have joined them to clean up a backlog of 6,000 trucks lining up to cross the canal.

The people of Mersham, near Ashford, Kent, have gathered to help the hundreds of drivers wait.

Kind-hearted volunteers from the village of Faversham, Kent, also delivered essential items to the still-stranded truckers at Marston Airport, a disused air force base that has been converted into a temporary truck park for the stranded drivers.

They use rope and shopping bags to supply stranded truck drivers waiting for Covid tests with goods like beans, fruit and candy

Kent villagers are helping feed stranded truck drivers lined up along the highway by lowering bags of groceries to them from bridges. They use rope and shopping bags to supply stranded truck drivers waiting for Covid tests with goods like beans, fruit and candy

Villagers lower food from the M20 bridges near Ashford onto truckers stuck in Operation Stack while Domino delivers pizza

Villagers lower food from the M20 bridges near Ashford onto truckers stuck in Operation Stack while Domino delivers pizza

Hundreds of freight forwarders are standing on the M20 as part of Operation Stack, waiting for a negative test result before they can make their way to the continent

Hundreds of freight forwarders are standing on the M20 as part of Operation Stack, waiting for a negative test result before they can make their way to the continent

Faversham people are among the locals in Kent who have gathered to help the stranded truck drivers waiting to enter France to travel home

Faversham people are among the locals in Kent who have gathered to help the stranded truck drivers waiting to enter France to travel home

The volunteers delivered essential items such as toilet paper and water bottles. Mersham villagers also delivered groceries to motorists on the motorway by lowering packages from the motorway bridge

The volunteers delivered essential items such as toilet paper and water bottles. Mersham villagers also delivered groceries to motorists on the motorway by lowering packages from the motorway bridge

Hundreds of carriers are standing on the M20 as part of Operation Stack, waiting for a negative Covid test result before they can make their way to the continent

French firefighters (pictured) armed with 10,000 test kits have joined efforts to bring thousands of stranded truck drivers across the canal today. Up to 6,000 trucks are now stacked in Kent

French firefighters (pictured) armed with 10,000 test kits have joined efforts to bring thousands of stranded truck drivers across the canal today. Up to 6,000 trucks are now stacked in Kent

Bottled water, toilet paper and snacks were among the basic supplies handed to waiting drivers through the airport's perimeter fence.

Mersham residents Jan and David James also walked the lane between parked trucks to distribute food.

The couple climbed over a barrier and went down a series of steps on the embankment to reach the street.

Jackie and Peter Bates also intervened to bring Christmas joy to the drivers.

Ms. James, 69, a former schoolteacher, told Kent Online, “We knocked on doors in Mersham and asked if people had any substitute foods and they were brilliant.

“They gave us a lot of food in bags and we then took it to the bridges.

“We had cans of beans, orange juice, fruit, cookies, chips and corn beef – everything the truck drivers could eat with their fingers, but I think most of them have cutlery anyway.

“A lot of drivers asked us how far away Tesco was and a lot of them went to the supermarket.

“We ended up running out of food, but we could have gone on and on – it was just something we had to do for the poor guys.

The drivers accepted the donations at the perimeter fence of the disused Marston Airport, which has become a temporary rest stop since the French border closed

The drivers accepted the donations at the perimeter fence of the disused Marston Airport, which has become a temporary rest stop since the French border closed

These Faversham volunteers are one of many Kent locals who have gathered to give the locals a festive gift before Christmas

These Faversham volunteers are one of many Kent locals who have gathered to give the locals a festive gift before Christmas

British testers trying to clean up a 6,000-strong backlog of trucks lining up to get to France have found only three Covid cases among the 2,364 drivers wiped so far

Thousands of truckers are still waiting to be tested for Covid before they can travel to France

Thousands of truckers are still waiting to be tested for Covid before they can travel to France

Drivers still stranded in Dover have written "help" using traffic cones after days of waiting in Kent

Drivers still stranded in Dover have written "help" using traffic cones after days of waiting in Kent

Hot curries for the truckers

The meals were cooked by volunteers

A Sikh charity in Kent prepared hot meals, including curries (pictured) and pasta dishes, which were distributed to desperate truckers on Tuesday and Wednesday

A group of 26 firefighters from across the continent joined the testing effort and personally administered the swabs to truck drivers after President Emmanuel Macron demanded that truckers be wiped down before they were allowed to cross the canal

A group of 26 firefighters from across the continent joined the testing effort and personally administered the swabs to truck drivers after President Emmanuel Macron demanded that truckers be wiped down before they were allowed to cross the canal

Unlike the French firefighters, the British test teams hand over the swabs for the truck drivers to self-administer - a method that is considered less effective

Unlike the French firefighters, the British test teams hand over the swabs for the truck drivers to self-administer – a method that is considered less effective

It comes as Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps announced today that ferries and Eurostar services will run between Dover and Calais over Christmas to end the backlog. He said last night that he hoped the backlog could be fixed "by New Year's".

It comes as Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps announced today that ferries and Eurostar services will run between Dover and Calais over Christmas to end the backlog. He said last night that he hoped the backlog could be fixed "by New Year's".

Drivers have been stranded on the M20 in Kent, at nearby Manston Airport (pictured), or in and around the streets of Dover following the travel ban imposed by France following the identification of a new Covid strain in south-east England

Drivers have been stranded on the M20 in Kent, at nearby Manston Airport (pictured), or in and around the streets of Dover following the travel ban imposed by France following the identification of a new Covid strain in south-east England

A driver checks his COVID-19 cross-flow test in the port of Dover, Kent, where thousands are waiting to continue their journey across the canal after the borders with France reopen

A driver checks his COVID-19 cross-flow test in the port of Dover, Kent, where thousands are waiting to continue their journey across the canal after the borders with France reopen

Members of the British Army assist travelers with using Covid-19 self-test kits near the entrance to the port of Dover

Members of the British Army assist travelers with using Covid-19 self-test kits near the entrance to the port of Dover

The swab tests must be done by inserting a swab into the person's nose. French officials run the tests themselves, but British workers give the tests to drivers for self-administration

The swab tests must be done by inserting a swab into the person's nose. French officials run the tests themselves, but British workers give the tests to drivers for self-administration

After the French border closes on Sunday, trucks are lining up on the M20 motorway to enter the port of Dover. Around 2,000 are said to be on the motorway

After the French border closes on Sunday, trucks are lining up on the M20 motorway to enter the port of Dover. Around 2,000 are said to be on the motorway

Wojtek Golawski pictured said he had to spend the height of the festive season in his truck taxi stuck on the A20 in Dover and not with his family in Lukow, Poland

Wojtek Golawski pictured said he had to spend the height of the festive season in his truck taxi stuck on the A20 in Dover and not with his family in Lukow, Poland

Police officers and truck drivers gather at the entrance to the port of Dover last night as testing began

Police officers and truck drivers gather at the entrance to the port of Dover last night as testing began

Military personnel help take samples from drivers parked in Dover Harbor in Kent to get them moving again

Military personnel help take samples from drivers parked in Dover Harbor in Kent to get them moving again

The army was drafted to help tonight after only doing 200 tests an hour in Kent yesterday

The army was drafted to help tonight after only doing 200 tests an hour in Kent yesterday

A THOUSAND Dominos pizzas are being delivered to stranded truckers standing alone in Kent before Christmas

A group of Sikh volunteers tried to lighten the mood of truck drivers stranded in Kent with a delivery of 1,000 domino pizzas in the ongoing border chaos.

Thousands of foreign drivers are likely to spend Christmas in the UK as the government has indicated that the lines will not move for at least another 24 hours.

Khalsa Aid volunteers coordinated deliveries yesterday after delivering hundreds of chickpea curries to stranded motorists the day before.

Sikh volunteers from Khalsa Aid and Domino & # 39; s Pizza Staff stand outside the Sittingbourne, Kent office to prepare for delivery of fresh pizza to stranded truck drivers

Sikh volunteers from Khalsa Aid and Domino & # 39; s Pizza Staff stand outside the Sittingbourne, Kent office to prepare for delivery of fresh pizza to stranded truck drivers

The Maidenhead volunteers traveled over 80 miles to help, while some of the group's Langar Aid members traveled more than 150 miles from Coventry.

Volunteers from Guru Nanak Darbar Temple in Gravesend cooked the meals while staff from the Salvation Army Southeast Division also helped with the delivery of food. Ramsgate Football Club was also involved, delivering 200 pizzas to the drivers.

Ravinder Singh, founder of Khalsa Aid based in Maidenhead, said, “We in Sikhism have the concept of langar, which means communal kitchen.

"We are British Sikhs and the least we can do is practice our seasonal goodwill: two days after Christmas we have people on our ground who are on their way home and don't know what is happening."

"As we were walking up the steps to the bridge, a whole group of them clapped us – it was pretty emotional."

Ms. James has lived in Mersham for 35 years and says residents regularly see drivers using the village as a rat race to avoid queues on the A20.

The grandmother of five said, “There was a language barrier – most of them could only say 'very, very thank you' but some of the French and Spanish I was able to pick up on.

"Many of them just smiled and put their hands together to say thank you – it was wonderful."

Ms. James praised the community and said it was "a quintessentially English village with a fantastic community spirit".

She added, "The most important thing is that the drivers can get home to their families."

The villagers' actions were part of a wider effort to feed the desperate drivers.

On the M20, the Kent County Council (KCC), with the help of Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) partners and organizations, including the Salvation Army, the Khalsa Aid and South East Water, will provide drivers with hot food, sandwich food bags and drinks put water.

A number of food donations from catering companies in the southeast are also transported to Ashford station by Network Rail and distributed by KRF partner Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Several supermarkets and businesses, including Greggs, Lidl, and the Imperial Hotel at Hythe, have also made donations.

As part of the KCC's efforts to ensure that the Operation Brock traffic management system staff are looked after, an additional 32 portable toilets have been installed between intersections 10a and 11, complementing the Portaloos that were made available on Monday at 1km intervals along this route. The toilets are cleaned every 12 hours.

While traffic queues decrease when drivers meet French COVID-19 testing requirements and are cleared to continue via either the Port of Dover or the Channel Tunnel, it remains important that people do not travel to Kent while the disruption continues.

KCC Leader Roger Gough said: “The kindness and humanity of people who have come together to offer prosperity to those involved in delays in the port of Dover and the Eurotunnel is amazing.

“I'd like to thank everyone who came out to help, including charities, companies, volunteer groups and of course our own driver teams.

& # 39; The situation should be steadily improving now as drivers get negative COVID-19 test results and can continue their trips to France by ferry or freight train. However, I have deep compassion for those for whom this is too late to spend Christmas with their families.

"I would also like to thank the Kent communities for their support and understanding at an extremely challenging time, and I hope that knowing that the disorder continues to improve is welcome good news."

This came after authorities criticized the treatment of the stranded drivers and the conditions at Marston Airfield.

Industry executives classified the treatment of stranded truckers as "shameful" earlier this week.

Richard Burnett, General Manager of the Road Haulage Association, said, “They will give the drivers two liters of water every day.

“We have to make sure that the drivers have enough food and water.

“Kent County Council gave granola bars yesterday morning, which wasn't enough.

He added, “Given that the government has been trying to prepare for the transition in eight days, you would have expected these plans to be well rehearsed.

“It is an absolute shame that they are not well prepared at all. It's a scenario that could have happened in the event of a no-deal. & # 39;

47-year-old Andik Jozsef from Csokonyavisonta in Hungary is more than 1.6 km from the queue in Dover

Driver Andik Jozsef told Ms. Bernadett, 46, son Daniel (pictured together), 22, and daughter Kristof, 15, that he would not be coming home for Christmas

Andik Jozsef (left), 47, from Csokonyavisonta, Hungary, is more than a mile from the queue in Dover. He told Mrs. Bernadett (46), son Daniel (right) (22) and daughter Kristof (15) that he would not be home for Christmas

Ivo Ivic, 57, transports chemicals used in foam building from Runcorn in Cheshire to Slovenia

Ivo Ivic had planned a Christmas dinner with wife Ankica (56), son Jure (37) and daughter Sama (pictured together) (38) at home in Vrhnika (Slovenia)

57-year-old Ivo Ivic (left), who transports chemicals for foam construction from Runcorn in Cheshire to Slovenia, had been looking forward to spending tomorrow with his grandchildren, Timotes, aged eight and two, Lucian. He had planned a Christmas dinner with wife Ankica (right), 56, son Jure, 37, and daughter Sama, 38, at home in Vrhnika, Slovenia

Truck driver Doma Dumitru, 41, was hoping to spend tomorrow

Doma Dumitru had hoped to be at home in Romania tomorrow with his wife Alina (40) and their 12-year-old daughter Daria Maria (picture together)

Truck driver Doma Dumitru (left), 41, had hoped to spend tomorrow with his wife Alina, 40, and their 12-year-old daughter Daria Maria (right together) at home in Oradea in northwestern Romania. He has been stuck in Dover since Monday after France closed its border with Great Britain after the emergence of the new highly infectious strain of coronavirus

Truck drivers stranded in Kent report heartbreak at missing Christmas

Truck drivers who have been stranded in Kent for the past three days told MailOnline today of their grief that they missed Christmas Day with their families in the ongoing border chaos.

Thousands of drivers from countries such as Hungary, Slovenia and Romania are likely to spend Christmas in the UK after the government announced that the lines outside Dover will not move for at least another 24 hours.

Truck driver Doma Dumitru (41) had hoped to spend tomorrow with his wife Alina (40) and their 12-year-old daughter Daria Maria at home in Oradea in northwestern Romania. He has been stuck in Dover since Monday after France closed its border with Great Britain after the emergence of the new highly infectious strain of coronavirus.

Mr Dumitru said, “Usually at Christmas time I am with all of my family, my wife, daughter, mother, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, but this year I will be trapped here in England.

“It's not good, not good at all, but those are the dangers of the job. I don't want to sleep here in my truck for a fourth night, but there is nothing I can do. I miss my wife and daughter, I've talked to them on the phone, but it's not the same.

“There is no way I will reach Romania on Christmas Day, I have already warned you about it. They know this can happen at my work, but it's still very difficult to be away from them at this time of year.

Andik Jozsef, 47, from Rinvauilak, Hungary, is more than a mile from the line in Dover. He told Mrs. Bernadett (46), son Daniel (22) and daughter Kristof (15) that he would not come home for Christmas.

Mr Jozsef, who transports steel to Hungary from a factory in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, said: There is no chance I will see my family, there are 6,000 vehicles to be tested and it is Christmas Eve.

“The tests are going very slowly, I thought it would be faster, so I'll be in my truck on Christmas Day, there's no doubt about that.

“I want to spend the festivities with my wife, son and daughter in the comfort of my home, not here on a cold street with other trucks honking their horns over and over again.

"I think it's France's fault – they are deliberately awkward because of the Brexit negotiations with the UK, but it's us who have to pay the price."

57-year-old Ivo Ivic, who transports chemicals for foam construction from Runcorn in Cheshire to Slovenia, was looking forward to spending tomorrow with his grandchildren Timotes aged eight and two-year-old Lucian.

He had planned a Christmas dinner with his wife Ankica (56), son Jure (37) and daughter Sama (38) at home in Vrhnika (Slovenia).

But shaking his head, Mr Ivic said: “I definitely won't be able to see you until Christmas is over. Instead, I'll still be here in my truck, just a little closer to the port the way things are going.

“I was hoping my grandchildren would open their presents, but it just won't happen. Christmas is a time to be with your family, but I'll be alone this year. Hopefully I can get to France as soon as possible and get home before the new year. & # 39;

The trucker named John Christmas admits that he'll likely be spending the festive season at a truck stop

The unfortunate trucker John Christmas has admitted that he will likely spend the festive season in his truck parked at a rest stop.

The aptly named Romanian driver won't make it home on Christmas Day as he can't make it to Dover due to traffic problems.

It currently stands at the Manston roundabout, 18 miles from the harbor.

The unfortunate trucker John Christmas has admitted that he will likely spend the festive season in his truck parked at a rest stop

The unfortunate trucker John Christmas has admitted that he will likely spend the festive season in his truck parked at a rest stop

Mr Christmas is transporting water from Dover to Birmingham but was unable to get near the port due to traffic congestion as thousands of other drivers are trying to reach France for home.

He told Kent Live, “I'm going to be spending Christmas in my trailer, whether it's on the side of the road or in a parking lot in Birmingham, it's inevitable now.

“I don't need a COVID test. I've waited for hours but they won't let me go

“I just have to go to Dover to drop my truck and pick up another one, but I can't go there.

"After that I have to go back to Birmingham and then back to Romania."

Truck drivers stranded in Kent report heartbreak at missing Christmas

Truck drivers who have been stranded in Kent for the past three days told MailOnline today of their grief that they missed Christmas Day with their families in the ongoing border chaos.

Thousands of drivers from countries such as Hungary, Slovenia and Romania are likely to spend Christmas in the UK after the government announced that the lines outside Dover will not move for at least another 24 hours.

Truck driver Doma Dumitru (41) had hoped to spend tomorrow with his wife Alina (40) and their 12-year-old daughter Daria Maria at home in Oradea in northwestern Romania. He has been stuck in Dover since Monday after France closed its border with Great Britain after the emergence of the new highly infectious strain of coronavirus.

Mr Dumitru said, “Usually at Christmas time I am with all of my family, my wife, daughter, mother, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, but this year I will be trapped here in England.

“It's not good, not good at all, but those are the dangers of the job. I don't want to sleep here in my truck for a fourth night, but there is nothing I can do. I miss my wife and daughter, I've talked to them on the phone, but it's not the same.

“There is no way I will reach Romania on Christmas Day, I have already warned you about it. They know this can happen at my work, but it's still very difficult to be away from them at this time of year.

Andik Jozsef, 47, from Rinvauilak, Hungary, is more than a mile from the line in Dover. He told Mrs. Bernadett (46), son Daniel (22) and daughter Kristof (15) that he would not come home for Christmas.

Mr Jozsef, who transports steel to Hungary from a factory in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, said: There is no chance I will see my family, there are 6,000 vehicles to be tested and it is Christmas Eve.

“The tests are going very slowly, I thought it would be faster, so I'll be in my truck on Christmas Day, there's no doubt about that.

“I want to spend the festivities with my wife, son and daughter in the comfort of my home, not here on a cold street with other trucks honking their horns over and over again.

"I think it's France's fault – they are deliberately awkward because of the Brexit negotiations with the UK, but it's us who have to pay the price."

57-year-old Ivo Ivic, who transports chemicals for foam construction from Runcorn in Cheshire to Slovenia, was looking forward to spending tomorrow with his grandchildren Timotes aged eight and two-year-old Lucian.

He had planned a Christmas dinner with his wife Ankica (56), son Jure (37) and daughter Sama (38) at home in Vrhnika (Slovenia).

But shaking his head, Mr Ivic said: “I definitely won't be able to see you until Christmas is over. Instead, I'll still be here in my truck, just a little closer to the port the way things are going.

“I was hoping my grandchildren would open their presents, but it just won't happen. Christmas is a time to be with your family, but I'll be alone this year. Hopefully I can get to France as soon as possible and get home before the new year. & # 39;

(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) Nachrichten (t) Emmanuel Macron (t) Coronavirus