350-mile overnight dash by Dutchman to save his �9million Wisbech ‘baby’

A DUTCH project manager drove 350 miles overnight to save his “baby” – a �9million giant freezer threatened by gale force winds.

Patrick De Breet left his Netherlands home at 11pm UK time last Wednesday after learning 60mph gusts had ripped a gaping hole in the Wisbech cold store he had helped build.

He drove from Veldhoven, near Eindhoven, to Calais in France, picking up fellow Dutch colleague Bram Rog en route.

After a cross-channel ferry trip he drove from Folkestone to Boleness Road in Wisbech to see the damage to Partner Logistics’ 35m tall building.

After arriving at 8am, the Dutchmen immediately joined efforts to repair the 200sq metre hole in Britain’s biggest freezer.

Mr De Breet, who joined the firm in 2003, said: “I didn’t really have time to think about what had happened because we were on the phone the whole way contacting different people.

“But I was shocked as I’ve never know anything like this to happen. I was just worried, because it’s my baby, but when I arrived I quickly realised it could have been a lot worse.”

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Eight giant panels, weighing about 400kg each, had been smashed and needed replacing but strong gusts were causing difficulties.

Temperatures inside the fully automated freezer, which stores Birds Eye, Pinguin and Lamb Weston Meijer goods, had dropped from -27C to -22C causing snow to form.

Staff at the company’s Dutch headquarters remotely controlled the temperature from dropping any further as the battle to fix the damage continued.

About 30 hours later, at around 5am on Friday, the temporary repair work was completed.

Mr De Breet returns home this weekend but will be back in 4-6 weeks to oversee permanent replacement work taking place.

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