PENSIONERS who were evacuated from their homes on Christmas Eve after they were flooded out have finally moved back in.

In the early hours of December 24, the River Bure, a brook which runs through Bicester, burst its banks after heavy rain About 20 elderly people, who lived in the ground-floor flats at Hanover Gardens in Manorsfield Road, were evacuated at about 4am and a further 35 residents moved out during the day.

Some residents in top-floor apartments were able to move back home days after Christmas, but for others it wasn’t until this week that they could finally return to their homes.

Ground-floor apartments went through an extensive drying out process of about eight weeks and have had to have kitchens replaced and rooms redecorated. The common room and laundry area were both damaged, but are now back in action.

Most areas at the sheltered housing complex are back to normal with just new curtains to hang and doormats to be put in place.

Estate manager Dave Smith said: “They are so glad to be back.

“All their clubs, like knitting and bingo, are back up and running.”

Many residents had to live in temporary accommodation or with relatives.

After the flooding, the community rallied around to stage and fund a belated Christmas party for residents and raised cash to help replaced ruined belongings.

The Ex-Services Club has been helping to organise activities, including bingo, while Tesco has donated a buffet for the residents at the site’s annual general meeting, tomorrow.

Hanover spokesman Rob Ghosh said: “Most of the residents have returned to their properties except for one resident who has decided to stay with family for a bit longer.”

At this stage the housing association still does not have a final total of how much the flood damage cost.

Mr Ghosh said the cause of the flooding was “detritus” which had been washed down stream from up to three miles away.

Hanover Housing Association has reached the final stage of the Best 50+ awards, in the assisted living provider category. Winners will be announced at the 50+ Show on Wednesday, July 10, at London’s Olympia.

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