HISTORIC street signs that welcomed visitors for generations have been saved after they were sold at auction, with bids coming in from across the globe.

Seven ‘Welcome to Didcot’ signs now have proud new owners after their bids of between £225 and £275 were successful and raised nearly £1,800 for charities.

The signs, which were replaced in 2015, are now set to appear in front gardens and offices across the local area.

Among the new owners is Bob Mannix, who has lived in and around Didcot since 1977.

He said: “They have been a constant fixture of my life in the town - they were there when I first moved here, when I bought my first house and when I moved back from Abingdon five years ago.”

“I passed them every day when they were up and they were part of the furniture of the place.

“I thought it would have been very sad if they were lost for good.”

The 63-year-old, who works part-time at the Rutherford Laboratory, said he was hoping to attach the sign to the front of his house in Newlands Avenue, which he shares with his wife Claire Ward, so that other people could continue to see it.

He is investigating whether he can use the original fittings on the back but was worried about the ‘safety implications’.

If this fails he said he would put the sign up in his garden.

The MP for the area Ed Vaizey was another of the successful bidders and his sign is set to be put up in his constituency office.

He said: “I was delighted to have the opportunity to acquire one of these historic signs.

“Didcot is a fantastic town which I am proud to represent. This sign will be proudly displayed in my office.”

Adorned with an embossed crest of Didcot and the name of Meylan, the town’s twin in France, the signs are 92cm by 77cm and weigh 16.3kg.

After spending five years in storage, they were passed to mayor Jackie Billington to dispose of and she decided to organise the auction.

Bidders emailed their top bids and the seven highest were successful with the first bidders prioritised where there were matching bids.

The town council said there it received 28 unique bids in total with interest from as far away as Australia. In the end, the winning bids were mostly from Didcot and the surrounding area, according to the town council.

Crohns and Colitis Oxfordshire and the Didcot Air Cadets will split the money.

Ms Billington said: “I am absolutely amazed at the generosity of the winning bids received. It has far surpassed our expectations when we started.

“They are a little piece of the town’s history and people wanted a chance to own something no one else has got.”