The rescue centre at Oxford United's Kassam Stadium will stay open until the end of the week to cope with a growing number of evacuees from flood-affected homes.

About 35 evacuees - including families, children and the elderly - were forced from the homes and sought refuge at the county council's main rescue centre at the stadium as floods swamped homes in Osney and Botley Road in the early hours yesterday.

Most were forced to sleep on the floor or on sofas at the Quadrangle or in executive boxes overlooking the pitch, because the nearby Holiday Inn Express hotel was already full with evacuees from Abingdon and west Oxfordshire.

The rescue centre took delivery of water, nappies, clothes, toothpaste and blankets to help with the crisis and is expected to cope with more evacuees until Friday.

Kenneth Inness, 69, of Earl Street, off Botley Road, was rescued at 3am yesterday in a boat and taken to the stadium.

He said: "They didn't give us a lot of time. They basically said 'you've got to go now'. I got out with what I'm standing in now.

"I'm sort of like in a daze. It's like a bad dream. This is my worst nightmare and I can't wake up."

Warm clothes, shoes and blankets were handed out the evacuees, because many arrived cold and wet.

St John Ambulance and British Red Cross volunteers worked through Tuesday night and Wednesday to help the new arrivals.

Some volunteers have donated some of their own clothes and shoes to flood victims.

Pensioner Olive Bramall was rescued from Bridge Street, on Osney Island, at 3am and struggled to get any sleep at the rescue centre.

She said: "I feel very nauseous and quite dizzy. It must be the shock of everything that's happened and very little sleep. I was quite calm and dealt with it when it all happened, but now I think I must be in shock. I never thought I would have to evacuate."

Express Holiday Inn is providing food for the new evacuees and those staying in its rooms.

St John Ambulance coordinator Angela Morris said: "We will be keeping this centre open until Friday afternoon, because more people are expected from Abingdon or on Thursday if the rain returns."

  • Oxford United plan to go ahead with tomorrow's pre-season friendly against Bournemouth even if the centre is still open.