1. ITV Report

Carers in Northumberland who will not let snow stop them

For those who rely on them, home visits once, twice or even three times a day are vitally important. In rural areas, like Northumberland, carers can struggle to reach those who need them - but they will go to extraordinary lengths to make sure they do.

"We could not manage without them"

Gerry Balmbra needs four carers to get him up out of bed in the morning, three to make him comfortable later in the day and another three to lift him back into bed every evening.

Without them, he would have to lie in bed all day - and may eventually need to be admitted into hospital.

However, the farmhouse where he has lived for more than thirty years is remote, at the end of a farm track, on the outskirts of Alnwick - meaning in bad weather, it is difficult for his team of carers to reach him.

"I give them ten out of ten every time," said Gerry. "They never miss a visit. They come every time they say they are coming."

His wife Rosemary said the couple could not manage without them: "I call them Gerry's angels, because they are like my angels."

His carers, from a local company called Carewatch, travel all around Northumberland and County Durham - often the areas particularly badly hit by winter weather. Last weekend was their most difficult so far this winter.

Yvonne Shilock is the company's managing director: "Some of the girls get to their calls, park at the end of the country lane and then have to walk up. So by the time they get there, they are frozen as well.

"We have to get there. That is the point. You don't just do this job. You have to love it."

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