OAPs hit by floods get a festive lunch

The Oxford Times: volunteers, from left, Reg Connor, Cindy Donaldson, Neil Harding, Ann Warner and Laura Wyllie  Picture: OX64377 Jon Lewis Buy this photo » volunteers, from left, Reg Connor, Cindy Donaldson, Neil Harding, Ann Warner and Laura Wyllie Picture: OX64377 Jon Lewis

KIND-HEARTED residents are summoning some extra Christmas spirit to put on a festive lunch for OAPs flooded out of their homes.

People in Bicester were so touched by the story of 55 sheltered housing residents at Hanover Gardens having to evacuate on Christmas Eve when the River Bure burst, they set up a Facebook group to help them.

The water resulted in power and heating failures, forcing some residents to stay in a local care home or in a Travelodge off the M40, or with friends and family, and had to spend Christmas away from home.

Some residents are back home but others may not be able to return immediately.

That has now resulted in more than 220 people joining the social media campaign to put on a Christmas lunch on Sunday.

The lunch will be served at 3pm at the Ex-Serviceman’s Club in Church Street, Bicester.

The venue has been offered for free along with pledges of transport and food from those who joined the Facebook group.

Organiser Neil Harding, an Army private with 23 Pioneer Regiment, said: “I can’t take credit for it. It is the people of Bicester who have come behind this.

“It is amazing how many offered things so we can do this for everyone at Hanover Gardens.”

The residents will tuck into a turkey dinner with music by Bicester band The CaddyFins and DJ Helen Carruthers.

Ann Warner of Lyneham Road, Bicester, works for Oxfordshire County Council.

She said: “I joined the Facebook group and one thing we worried about was how the less mobile could get there so I asked my boss Steve Marriott and the county council agreed to provide transport for free.”

Hanover Housing Association’s regional manager Karen Brister said: “The support from local people to our residents in this difficult time has been outstanding.”

Nancy Webb, 79, of Hanover Gardens, said: “I think it’s a brilliant idea and very kind.

“There’s a strong community spirit in Bicester.”

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