SOLDIERS have been continuing to build a 600m-long barrier to protect homes from flooding in a village near Oxford.
The temporary wall in South Hinksey, made of sand and concrete blocks, stretches from behind the General Elliot pub, in Manor Road, to Barleycott Lane.
The 80 soldiers from 32 Brigade Support Squadron, 3 Close Support Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps, based at Dalton Barracks, Abingdon, were greeted enthusiastically by residents as arrived in the village on Friday.
Of 80 houses in the village, 18 flooded last month.
Manor Road resident Matthew Frohn, 46, had an inch and a half of floodwater in his home which he shares with wife Vicki Nash, 41, and daughters Anna, seven, and Edie, four.
He said: “The soldiers arriving has definitely lifted the spirits.
“Something like this (building a flood barrier) has been planned for about a decade so it will be a really interesting test.
“If it works I would be delighted if they left it in place.”
The house of neighbour Adrian Porter, 42, was surrounded by about a foot and a half of floodwater, although an internal flood defence system kept the water out his home.
He said: “When the British Army turned up, the morale boost was amazing.
“It will hopefully enable us to get to work and do the simple things like use the lavatory.”
Mr Porter’s children, Rowan, six, Eloise, seven and Torin, two, were especially pleased to see the soldiers.
Rowan, who changed into his army trousers when he saw the troops arriving, said: “It is better than fantastic, better than brilliant.”
Army Staff Sgt Shane Watson said: “We are here to help the villagers and support them as best we can.
“We are trying to prevent it getting any worse. We really hammered out the hours on Friday, we’re here until the job is done.”
Concrete blocks arrive in the village to form part of the defences
The chairman of South Hinksey Parish Council, Maggie Rawcliffe, said: “We have been flooded frequently, it is relentless. We were flooded twice last year and have been twice this year so far.
“The mood in the village has been much stronger.”
The wall is expected to stay in place until April. But residents are hoping the barrier – or a flood defence like it – will either become permanent or be built every winter.
- Personnel from RAF Brize Norton have been deployed to help with the flooding effort making thousands of sandbags at Chieveley in Berkshire to be used across the country.