Cash joy for fire-hit mum and her lad

The aftermath of the fire

The aftermath of the fire

First published in News
Last updated

KIND-hearted people in Chipping Campden have raised £750 for a woman and her young son who lost everything in a flat fire.

Four fire crews rushed to the blaze, which broke out in Catherine Francis’s rented flat above the White Rose bridal boutique, in the High Street. But despite their efforts, Ms Francis and her six-year-old son Junya lost everything in the blaze, which badly damaged a large area of the first and second floor.

But since the blaze on December 29, community spirit has taken over and residents and businesses have rallied round and donated money as well as with clothes, bedding and toys to help get them back on their feet.

Paul Vincent-Squibb and his partner Deborah Buckland, of the Bratches, and Karen Woods, who runs the One Stop Shop, have been coordinating the collection.

They even managed to persuade Morrisons, in Stratford, to donate two bags of brand new clothes for Junya.

“They lost everything,” said Mr Vincent-Squibb.

“Toys, all his Christmas presents, all their clothes. Everything.

They walked out with a mobile and a charger, that was it. We went around trying to collect some money for her. The response has been fantastic.”

His partner said Ms Francis, a volunteer at St Catharine’s School, is extremely grateful to everyone who had donated. “She’s still very shocked by it all I think,” she said. “All she wanted to do is thank everyone.

Donations of clothing, toys and bedding have also been pouring in for the family with people dropping off piles of items to the One Stop Shop, in the High Street.

Danielle McCabe, who owns the White Rose bridal boutique below the flat, said the fire was so hot it damaged her heating system and caused the water tank above to flood her shop.

“My stock has all gone, it’s all damaged,” she said. “The ceiling has come down from above, the whole of the shop is so wet.” Mrs McCabe said Ms Francis had been living on a temporary basis at the Cotswold House Hotel, in Campden.

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