HUNDREDS of frontline staff were thanked for their flooding efforts in a reception in the Great Hall, Winchester.

They were from the emergency services, military, highways, social care, emergency planning and other frontline services and were thanked by Hampshire County Council.

The event was hosted by council leader Roy Perry and Lord-Lieutenant Dame Mary Fagan, who paid tribute to the efforts of those who helped Hampshire through its wettest winter in more than 200 years.

Cllr Perry said: “The extreme weather this winter posed some tough challenges in Hampshire. It is a year we will not forget - not just for the flooding but for the lessons learned and accomplishments made, during such a challenging time.

“Importantly, this year demonstrated the importance of partnerships and on behalf of the County Council, I would like to express my gratitude to all those who played a part.

“We are indebted to the tremendous work undertaken by all those involved, and the cooperation demonstrated during these past months will, I am sure, put us in good stead for challenges we may face in the future.”

The winter flooding threatened homes and businesses, with over 300 homes flooded across the county, 100 evacuated, 1,000 fallen trees cleared from roads and 92,000 sandbags deployed.

The county council leader also awarded grants of £5,000 each to the benevolent funds of the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force to acknowledge the efforts of the military personnel.

The reception took place on the same day as a visit to Hampshire, and Winchester, from Government minister Greg Barker, one of the Prime Minister’s special flood envoys.

He visited Water Lane, the River Itchen in Winchester city centre, and Hambledon which spent more than 60 days submerged.