Residents of Bicester’s Hanover Gardens celebrated a belated Christmas lunch at the Littlebury Hotel on Sunday after they had to be evacuated from their home on Christmas Eve.
A Facebook group called ‘Xmas dinner for Hanover House residents’was set up after the River Bure burst its banks and flooded the private estate on Christmas Eve.
The group, set up by Bicester man and army private Neil Harding of the 23 Pioneer Regiment, gained more than 300 followers.
Invitations were extended to Hanover Gardens staff, and the emergency services who helped to place residents in temporary accommodation and carry out necessary safety checks over the Christmas period.
Mayor Melanie Magee, who went along, said: “I was privileged to attend the Christmas lunch part of the event to welcome everyone and to talk to residents affected by the flooding. The idea attracted interest from loads of individuals and businesses in Bicester and very quickly was able to become a reality.
“The lunch event had an amazing atmosphere, with live music and the volunteers and staff made sure it was a wonderful day for all those who attended. It was lovely to see the fire service at the lunch after their sterling work to evacuate residents.
“The event really showed how much the wonderful people and businesses of Bicester support each other in times of crisis, and that community spirit is strong in our town. I’m incredibly proud to be part of Bicester.”