FLOODING: The Dunkirk spirit resurfaces

The Oxford Times: Rowing on the Abingdon Road. Left to right: Maye Ramsey, Aaliyah Boone and Kayley Simmons Buy this photo Rowing on the Abingdon Road. Left to right: Maye Ramsey, Aaliyah Boone and Kayley Simmons

OXFORD residents showed the Dunkirk spirit yesterday as they kept calm and carried on despite increased flooding.

Many living on the Botley and Abingdon roads woke up to find water surrounding their homes.

But the communities were pulling together to battle through.

Staff at the Duke of Monmouth pub in Abingdon Road would be providing free hot drinks to people without heating and offered their cooking facilities to those without power.

Manager Tony Jenkins said: “There is not much more you can do in these situations.

“We try and help out people in the area when we can.

“It’s a community-based pub, so we are open as normal and here to help.”

Cyclists battled through deep sections of the waters while other people made use of the water by going out in their inflatable boats.

Oxford City Council workers Mark French and Glen Thompson were also hard at work filling sandbags for people in Chatham Road.

Mr French said: “There are a few elderly residents who need help so we are bringing sandbags to them.

“So far we have given out over 100 to people around here.”

Elsewhere in Botley Road Clive Soanes, 67, who lives in Bullstake Close said that city council staff had so been “fantastic”.

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He told the Oxford Mail: “In 2007 we did not have a flood barrier, but since then it has been put up every time.

“At that time there was not a lot they could do and I was lucky I had insurance.

“But now they are doing a great job. You could not wish for a better bunch of chaps.”

Denise Coleman, 59, who lives in nearby Osney Court, said her grandson had come to stay overnight on Saturday but by the morning the floods had arrived and swamped the car park area.

The Oxford Times:

  • Denise Coleman leads Freddie Reverley through the water as Hailey Coleman looks on

Mrs Coleman rents from private housing association Homegroup and was evacuated with her husband in January.

She said: “We had been watching it creep up from the allotments and it had been by the fences for a few days.

“But then it suddenly came up overnight.

“My husband is not very mobile and so the warden from Homegroup came round this morning to check if we were alright.

“They have been really helpful throughout.

“And my daughter has gone out to bring us back some supplies. So we should be alright for the time being.”

Residents in South Hinksey were told by authorities that possible flood defence efforts were unachievable after Saturday’s showers and have had to mostly fend for themselves.

But village flood defence co-ordinator Adrian Porter, 42, said that they would not give in to rising waters without putting up a fight.

The Oxford Times:

  • Cyclists on the Abingdon Road

Mr Porter, who lives in Manor Road with his wife and three children, said villagers were helping each other with sandbags, fetching supplies and checking on elderly residents.

He said: “Everybody is doing their bit. Without such a great community it would have been a lot worse.

The Oxford Times:

  • Tony Jenkins

“We are professionals here – flood defence are us – and the memory from January is still fresh. Even if we suffer more than most, we have the resilience to get through it.”

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