A CHIPPING Campden woman and her young son who lost everything in a flat fire said she has been overwhelmed with the support she has received from the community.

Four fire crews rushed to the blaze, which broke out in Cathy Francis’s rented flat above the White Rose bridal boutique, in the High Street on December 29.

Despite the best efforts of the firefighters - who managed to salvage some CDs, books and a few sentimental items - Dr Francis and her seven-year-old son Junya lost everything in the fire which badly damaged a large area of the first and second floor.

But just days after, the community rallied round and the donations began pouring in including bags of clothes, furniture, crockery and bedding and even a new train set for Junya.

After staying with friend Ali Robinson and spending two weeks at the Cotswold House Hotel, the pair are now in a new flat in the high street.

"I didn't expect people to do that," said the 51-year-old. "It first started the next day in One Stop they had a collection there. After we moved to the hotel, the manager and her friend came with some money they had collected and a bag of toys.

"People came round with all sorts of things. It's amazing. It was Junya's birthday just after and the school instead of each person giving home presents everyone clubbed together and bought him a train set, he's train mad. The hotel had a little tea party for him and his friends.

"That was just above and beyond. Everybody's just rallied round not just to help but to keep everything normal for Junya. Everyone's been amazing."

Dr Frances, who moved to Campden two years ago from Japan to work at Campden BRI, had only been living in the flat since October after moving from her home in Wolds End so she had more space to become a foster carer.

Writing a heartfelt letter of thanks to residents in the Campden Bulletin, she added: "We often hear that every cloud has a silver lining. In our case the weakest part of our fostercare assessment was being unable to demonstrate convincing community support.

"But following this catastrophe, you people of Chipping Campden have demonstrated overwhelming

support for a family I don’t think most of you knew before 29th December.

"We feel truly blessed and humbled to live in such a wonderful community and I am not sure we would have come through this challenge without everyone’s help and support."