MORE than 300 people gave a rapturous welcome to Chilean miner José Henriquez when he visited Oxfordshire.

He gave the first of three talks in the county at Grove Parish Church and will appear at Oxford Town Hall tonight.

He was among 33 miners trapped 700 metres underground from August to October last year.

Married father-of-two Mr Henriquez, 55, a drill operator, was the 24th to be rescued.

He said: “When the mine collapsed, we immediately realised there was no escape.

“But when we felt we had lost everything, I was able to say ‘we have not lost prayer’.”

The talks were organised by the Church Mission Society in Oxford with the help of Alf Cooper, chaplain to the President of Chile, who has links with the Grove church dating back 30 years.

Rev Canon John Robertson, vicar at the Main Street church, said: “We were very privileged to have José come here with Alf – it’s a unique story of faith.”

Mr Henriquez will today meet mission staff in Cowley and address a sold out audience at Oxford Town Hall at 7.30pm.

Mr Henriquez is pictured, right, with Mr Cooper, centre, and Rev Robertson.