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Lightning strikes

EYNSHAM mother Jacqui Hudson told how she narrowly escaped after lightning struck her TV aerial and her ceiling collapsed on top of her.

Mrs Hudson, 46, was lying on her bed talking to a friend on the phone when the bolt of lightning struck at 3pm at the height of Saturday's storm.

As the flaming ceiling collapsed on top of her, setting fire to the pillows, the mother-of-two put out the flames with her bare hands and needed treatment for burns at hospital in Witney.

A neighbour in Tilgarsley Road, who had seen the lightning hit the TV aerial, rushed round with two fire extinguishers and helped Mrs Hudson's husband Chris, also 46, to put out the fire in the attic.

Mrs Hudson, a clerical assistant in a local health centre, said: "I was lying on the bed talking to a friend and all of a sudden there was this horrendous noise, followed instantly by a crash and basically the celiling fell on top of me it was pretty terrifying really.

"I think we were lucky very lucky the fact that nobody was hurt is the main thing even though it's a wreck inside the house. I've got to remember that everybody is OK. The lady across the road actually saw the lightning strike the TV aerial on the roof and said it was horrendous.

"She heard the bang. I think everybody in Eynsham heard the noise."

The rainstorm which brought chaos to the county came just 72 hours after the hottest July day on record.

A month's-worth of rain 40.8mm fell in just under two hours, resulting in flash-flooding and lightning strikes.

The Met Office warned more storms could hit again midweek.

Homes and shops were flooded, summer events were washed out, roads were submerged and sporting events washed out.

Firefighters took 160 calls in three hours and had to prioritise responding only to emergencies where lives or property were in danger.

The storm swept sideways across the middle Oxfordshire in the early afternoon.

Met Office spokesman Andy Bodenham said Oxfordshire suffered the worst storm in the UK, with 40.8mm of rain in under two hours. He added: "Once again Oxfordshire got more than a month's rainfall in a couple of hours and there seems to be a pattern emerging, with long periods of dry sunny weather and above average temperatures followed by thunder storms.

"We will see continued hot spells, with the possibility of similar thunder storms midweek."

Music fans enjoyed most of the first Ascott Festival of jazz, blues and folk until the heavens opened. The show at Crown Farm in Ascott-under-Wychwood attracted 4,000 people.

But at least there was some fun for the animals at Cotswold Wildlife Park near Burford. The tamarins and meerkats were treated to ice cubes with fruit frozen inside but the otters had thetop treat: ice-lollies flavoured with cuts of fish.

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