Memories of the big freeze of '63

ANYONE who moans about the chilly weather at this time of year is likely to be given short shrift by Llandovery pensioner Enfys Jones.

For Enfys, 73, of Lon Rhys Prichard, can still vividly recall the dramatic events of the night of February 6, 1963, when – heavily pregnant with her second child – she won a race against time to get the baby delivered at Llandovery Hospital despite mountainous snowdrifts.

“We were living in Cynghordy at the time and the weather had been exceptionally cold for weeks,” she said. “We hadn’t had any water for the whole of January and ‘Cyril the Farm’ used to bring us supplies in milk churns.

“The night of February 6 saw the worst blizzard of the winter – and that was when I realised I was starting to go into labour.

“Alan, my brother-in-law, and Rex, my husband, rang Llandovery Hospital to say we’d try to get there by car and the three of us set off through deepening snow.

“We struggled to within a mile of the hospital before we had to stop because of the depth of snow.

“Wejust had no choice but to get out and walk. We somehow managed to get as far as Llanfair, on the outskirts of town, where a huge drift blocked our path.

“The only thing we could do was climb into the adjoining field and get around that way. By now, the two boys were more or less having to carry me!

“When we finally reached the hospital the staff were on the point of ringing the emergency services because it had taken us so long to get there.

“The staff gave Rex and Alan a spade with which to dig the car out, but when they got back to where they’d left it they just couldn’t find it – it had been completely buried by the snow.”

But the story had a happy ending. Enfys duly gave birth to a baby boy named Peter – a brother for Melanie who, along with her grandmother, was awaiting news back in Cynghordy.

“Ever since, talk of bad winters makes me smile,”

said Enfys. “That winter was the worst. It was very cold two years ago but what made 1963 so hard was the blizzards – plus the fact we often had to cope with no water or electricity.”

● Anyone with recollections of the Big Freeze of ’63 should contact Guardian editor Mike Lewis on 01269 592074, or e-mail him at mike.lewis@southwalesguardian.co.uk

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