Early on Easter Saturday morning a fire broke out at our neighbour's house in Central Avenue, Telscombe Cliffs. The residents are a couple in their sixties (Pat and Sandy) who live there with their four cats, chinchillas, rabbits and chickens. They also had several quail who were sadly killed.
Miraculously Pat and Sandy got out of the house alive but were treated by paramedics for smoke inhalation. One of their cats is still missing but it has been established that it isn't in the remains of the house so there is still hope. Another of the cats was rescued by a fireman. The other two are also safe as are their other pets.
But their house is a charred shell. It was truly terrifying watching the flames rip through the building and it took a long time for the fire service to put it out because there is a problem with a lack of water pressure in the road. So they have lost everything.
They left the house in the nightclothes they were wearing and spent the few minutes they had saving their animals. Indeed Pat went back into the house against advice before the fire service arrived to rescue one of the cats and was very lucky to have reemerged.
As their neighbours we are trying to help them and have provided some clothes and other essentials.
They are currently living in a hotel in Brighton and hopefully will find some temporary accommodation in the next few days. It will take months before they will be able to move back into their house.
I keep trying to imagine what it must be like being in their position but I just can't. Firstly to still be in shock from what they witnessed but then to not be able to return to their home, the place where we all seek comfort and refuge from the world and expect to find intact with all the contents of our lives inside.
But they have lost all of that along with photos, war medals and all sorts of items that provide them with their memories.
Although they are insured, we all know what insurance companies are like, trying to wriggle out of paying for anything they can avoid and who knows how long they will take to provide anything financially.
In the meantime, I wanted to appeal to our local community to give a small donation to help Pat and Sandy in an attempt to make their ordeal just a little bit easier to cope with.
It could have been any of us who awoke to that nightmare on Saturday morning and instead of spending a sunny Easter weekend with family spent the time looking at the devastated shell of a home and being grateful to have survived.
To go to the Crowd Funding page hit the Donate Here button below.