Around 40 people were forced to sleep in a pub overnight after heavy snowfall and poor driving conditions meant they had to abandon their cars in mid-journey.
The Bear Inn, near Burwash, East Sussex, welcomed stranded drivers on Sunday night so they could take refuge somewhere warm.
The pub provided hot drinks, log fires and mattresses for children to sleep on.
One stranded driver, Dr Alexandra Loske, said: “Many sleeping on the floor tonight, but we are all happy.”
Stranded and snowed in near Burwash since 5pm, and we all got kicked out of the first pub. A 2-mile treck through the snow to The Bear Inn, which has taken in dozens of people and is staying open all night. Hot drinks, logfires, mattresses for children. Human kindness. @BBCSussex pic.twitter.com/jibHEfT97z— Dr Alexandra Loske (@Saschaloske) December 11, 2022
She said she had abandoned her car on the A265 at about 5pm on Sunday, after the situation became “very scary”.
Many people had broken down, while other cars were stuck and vehicles were “sliding everywhere”, she said, adding: “Conditions were still really treacherous. Then we figured out the Bear Inn were taking in waifs and strays and stranded people.”
Pauline Wilson, the manager of the Bear Inn, told The Telegraph: “It was amazing considering there were so many people that had never met each other before – people just snuggled up together and helped each other. It was so lovely.”
She said the pub had initially started letting people in because its eight motel rooms at the back filled up so quickly with stranded drivers that they became overcrowded.
There were “three ladies in one room who didn’t even know each other”, she said, adding: “We also had a young couple who crashed their car down the road, who are thankfully uninjured, but who wanted to get somewhere safe and warm.”
Among the 40 people who stayed overnight were a family with a six-month-old and a three-year-old, who were given fleeces to keep warm and mattresses to sleep on.
Ms Wilson said: “We realised everyone needed to be safe, just somewhere warm with hot drinks. I called the owner of the pub and explained the situation, and he said do what you’ve got to do – he was more than happy to have people over to stay safe.”
She said that she would “definitely do it again if necessary”.
Dr Loske told BBC Radio Sussex: “It was a long night and quite scary, but we made so many good friends and met so many lovely and kind people. We are safe and warm.
“It was absolutely amazing – log fires going, open arms, free food, free hot drinks, they put us all up.”
The cold spell that caused the heavy snowfall overnight is set to continue, with further travel disruption possible.