COMMUNITY heroes have been praised for their amazing efforts to help others as extreme weather caused chaos across Renfrewshire.

Towns and villages ground to a halt last week as ‘the Beast from the East’ brought Siberian-style conditions.

A red weather warning was issued in Renfrewshire for the first time in history, with all schools and nurseries being closed on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The blizzard conditions also saw roads shut, with public transport put into deep freeze as buses and trains were unable to run.

Glasgow Airport was caught up in the chaos, as flights were cancelled, leaving many passengers with little choice but to use the terminal building as an impromptu hotel.

And the disruption continued into the weekend, as panic buying left shops with empty shelves.

However, the challenging conditions also brought out the best in people across Renfrewshire, with many going to the aid of others in need of help.

In some cases, drivers with 4x4 vehicles volunteered to help get NHS staff to work, while many others played their part by checking in on vulnerable neighbours or clearing paths and pavements for those who were unable to manage by themselves.

Renfrewshire North and West MSP Derek Mackay said it was “heartwarming” to witness the way so many people rallied round.

Mr Mackay added: “It was a tough few days but great credit, along with our heartfelt thanks, must go to everyone who has braved the conditions to keep services running or assist others in the community.

“Stories of people giving stranded NHS workers lifts, taking shopping to neighbours or clearing paths in their local area, as I managed to assist with on Friday, is heart-warming.

“The sense of community spirit during these types of situations is wonderful.”

One of the more unusual incidents saw firefighters being called out to remove giant icicles that were precariously dangling over shoppers’ heads in Johnstone town centre.

The icicles had formed above the offices of Stirling and Mair solicitors and Optical Express, in the town’s High Street, with a fire crew using a ladder to safely remove them at around 4pm on Friday.

In another incident, Erskine residents leapt into action to rescue an ambulance crew that became stuck in deep snow.

The ambulance was responding to an emergency near Park Winding on Thursday when it became stranded.

However, residents used shovels to free the vehicle, which was able to transfer an elderly patient to Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital for treatment.