A RETIRED highways engineer last night spoke about the devastation left in Oxfordshire by hurricane force winds in October 1987.

The so-called Great Storm hit the county 25 years ago.

Woodstock town councillor Colin Carritt, 68, was working as an area engineer responsible for the management of the highways network in West Oxfordshire.

The area got off lightly compared to the chaos and destruction which hit other parts of southern England, when winds of up to 110mph resulted in 18 deaths.

Despite this, electricity supplies were cut off, trees were blown down, and parks, roads and schools were closed.

The ferocious gales impacted worst on Didcot. A roof was blown off a caravan in Foxhall Manor Park and a six-foot high wall collapsed across a public footpath between Sandringham Road and Balmoral Road.

Mr Carritt added: “This was in the days before mobile phones so we had to use short wave radio systems in communication with emergency services. “We lost communications because of a power failure at the transmitter. They were left to their own devices but they coped extremely well.”