A TOWN centre running track and a temporary beach were deployed to launch a new way of living in Bicester as it becomes a new NHS Healthy Town.

The programme saw the community come together in the town centre on Saturday to celebrate exercise, community and healthy living.

It comes after NHS England announced Bicester as one of ten areas to take on Healthy Town status and build healthy living into the town’s developments.

Cherwell District Council leader Barry Wood said: “The launch day with the lively atmosphere that it is bringing to the town is a good excuse to break the ice with your neighbour.

“Mental health is fundamental to enhancing residents’ lives and it is not acceptable that one in six Bicester residents feel socially isolated.

“We are working closely with local voluntary groups to address this issue. But this is also everybody’s responsibility and I am urging each resident to make a little effort and help grow the sense of community.”

The event on Saturday officially launched the programme in Bicester and include fair rides, a Sheep Street running race, a pop-up sandy beach and pot planting with the Bicester Big Lunch team.

Three-year-old Isaac Lamb and Oliver Lamb,7, were among the many children making the most of the dry afternoon on the man-made beach building sandcastles.

Elsewhere, others made the most of the free fruit being handed out by stall holders and businesses.

Businesses are encouraged to help spread the word about healthy living and builders' merchants Grant and Stone got in on the action by giving fruit to all its customers.

The weekend also saw the launch of a new project being staged as part of the Healthy Town initiative, which hopes to map out an exercise route to encourage more people to get out and run.

Over the weekend a 5K blue line was painted through the town in Langford for runners to follow as part of the town health kick.

Following the NHS England announcement to help support Bicester to become a healthy town, Cherwell District Council has earmarked three main areas it hopes to focus on.

In Bicester this includes obesity, dementia and loneliness and proposals to help address these issues include communal health hubs, more integration with schools to educate on healthy lifestyles and technology that can help people self-monitor their health.