A LLANDINAM woman has thanked two couples who came to her rescue after she found herself lost off-road on her way back home from Aberystwyth.

One couple gave her a lift back and another retrieved her van the following day after she had a panic attack during a three-hour mountainous diversion.

Jess Needham was low on fuel, had no signal and no light when she ended up in the hills between Pant Mawr and Devil’s Bridge on the evening of Sunday, October 27.

She had followed a group of cars up a road, which then become a track, after a crash closed the A44 between Aberystwyth and Llangurig: her route home.

“I was getting a bit scared. I had less than a quarter of a tank of diesel left. The road was windy and I didn’t want to leave the convoy. I was driving at a speed I shouldn’t have been in my van,” said Jess; who works in marketing at the County Times and sings in local band Lucky Pierre.

County Times:

Jess Needham was enjoying the views in the hills between Pant Mawr and Devil's Bridge, before the road she followed become a track

Jess had a panic attack after the convoy approached gates blocking them from going any further, forcing them to find an alternative route.

“We were going up a huge vertical hill, and there was a huge cliff drop. I started crying. I was shaking. I wanted to phone my mum but I didn’t have any phone signal.”

Thankfully, Jess wasn’t alone. There were around 10 cars, all lost together.

When she got out of her car, in panic, fellow drivers got out too, and helped her to calm down.

This included Steve and Lynne Jones who suggested she should leave her van behind, given the state she was in, and that she should get a lift home with a couple from Llanidloes.

Lynne said: “She was so upset, we couldn’t not doing anything to help her. She was on her own and had no one to talk to. She was scared. It did take some convincing to get her to leave her van though, she loves it so much.”

Steve managed to direct the group back to civilisation. “He thought he could find the way, and he got us back to safety. We were so scared, but we finally saw street lights in the distance.”

County Times:

Jess Needham inside her van

Steve, from Bwlch-y-Ffridd, didn’t just help the convoy find their way back to main roads.

He also went back to the remote location where Jess left her van, with his wife Lynne, to bring it back to where Jess lives in Llandinam.

“He said he could help me find my van. For me, it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

“He’s a hero. He’s restored my faith in humanity. He’s one of the most kind men I’ve ever met. I’m so grateful. I was so worried about driving down the awful mountain hill.

“I wanted to give him something for what he did, but he wouldn’t accept anything.

“He helped a lot of people by what he did that night.”