Meet Cllr Pete Allen: The winter wonder who shops and drops for Hull pensioners
VENTURING on the icy paths can be hazardous enough for anyone, but for the elderly it can be a particularly daunting experience.
Those without family or friends nearby are often forced to take their chances in order to do essential food shopping.
Now one kind-hearted community stalwart is offering to help.
Pete Allen, a city councillor, has been leafleting pensioners in west Hull, urging them to contact him if they need groceries such as bread, milk, fruit and vegetables.
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Using his 4x4, Mr Allen is driving round the area, helping out those most in need.
He said: "I did this in 2010, when there was a prolonged period of cold weather and it went down very well.
"I've been initially delivering leaflets asking those who need my help to call me.
"I'm getting them the essential things they need, such as bread, milk and potatoes.
"Last time, I was doing eight to ten trips a day and I imagine I will be doing something similar this time.
"We have been going around the pensioner bungalows and sheltered homes where people are particularly concerned about slipping on the ice."
Mr Allen believes he is in a good position to help people.
He said: "I'm fit and healthy and I have a 4x4 that can get around in these conditions.
"Some people offer to give me petrol money but I refuse. If I did take the couple of pounds people want to give me, I could probably buy a new car!"
While recent weather has not been as extreme as 2010, the length of the cold snap is forcing people to face the ice.
Mr Allen said: "Like 2010, the snow is hanging around for quite a long time so people are getting desperate.
"While the main roads are well gritted, the side roads remain in a mess."
While Mr Allen has only just started his mercy mission, he has already been receiving positive feedback.
"People have told me it's a brilliant idea," he said.
"Some of the elderly people have relatives who can help out but even they have said it's a good thing to do.
"It is surprising how many people need help with this.
"People who do have to ring up are quite desperate."
The actions of Mr Allen have been praised by Age UK.
Rachael Mather, chief executive of the Hull branch of the charity, believes contributions by the likes of Mr Allen are vital to help older people through the winter
He said: "I imagine Mr Allen will be inundated as a lot of people will be stuck at home.
"There are all sorts of things people can do to help their neighbours during the winter weather, such as clearing paths.
"When it is icy then people are particularly prone to falling.
"Among old people this can be very significant as they are at greater risk of breaking a bone.
"Also, if they are in hospital, they can get an infection.
"Falling can also have a huge effect on their confidence.
"We would advise elderly people not to go out unless it is absolutely necessary.
"It is fantastic what Mr Allen is doing but we hope most people have family and friends who can help them.
"We hope this bad weather comes to an end soon."
Age UK can give advice about coping with the cold weather, such as getting cheaper energy tariffs, recipes for warm food and other ways to stay warm.
For advice, call 01482 324644.