Three brothers have launched an appeal for photographs featuring their family, after almost 60 years of memories were destroyed in a fire. Rita Halsey, aged 82, lost her home and all her belongings in the fire at Rocester, which spread through three properties in Abbey Road on March 31.
Three brothers have launched an appeal for photographs featuring their family, after almost 60 years of memories were destroyed in a fire.
Rita Halsey, aged 82, lost her home and all her belongings in the fire at Rocester, which spread through three properties in Abbey Road on March 31.
Rita’s son Wayne posted a plea on Facebook for anyone with photographs from family weddings or events, which might feature his family, to help them preserve those special memories for Rita.
Rita is currently staying with Wayne and his wife Hayley, although she’ll also stay with sons Glen and his wife Linda in Rocester and Dean and his wife Zoe in Cheadle over the coming weeks.
Wayne said: “It’s difficult. I was born in November 1964, mum and dad moved into that house in March 1965 and she’s stayed there ever since.
“The fire has taken my mum’s life away. We’re so grateful she’s alive, and thankful to the lady over the road who got mum out, but the devastation it’s caused – she walked out of there with just the clothes she had on.
“Everything she owned, photographs, newspaper cuttings, my dad’s ashes, they’ve all gone. They were going to have their ashes scattered together.
“It’s really important people understand how quickly a fire can spread, how dangerous it is and the devastation it can cause. It was an inferno.
“We’re here with her, she’s with her family and she’s alive and safe. But she doesn’t want to go back there. All the memories have gone. Everything’s gone. It’s totally devastated.”
Following the blaze, an online fund-raising page has been collecting donations for Rita and everyone else affected by the fire.
Friends, family and villagers have also rallied round with donations from clothes and shoes to handbags and slippers.
Wayne added: “The Rocester community and surrounding communities have been fantastic. The vicar has been round to say prayers with my mum. It’s been an eye-opener and we are so thankful to everybody.”
The fundraising page at GoFundMe.com has currently topped £12,000, to donate search Abbey Road Rocester.
If you believe you may have a photo featuring the Halsey family, please contact Wayne at email@example.com to arrange a copy being made for Rita.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service advise planning an escape route so you can get out of your home if there is a fire. You must get out, stay out and dial 999. More advice and a downloadable booklet on Fire Safety in the Home is available at www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk.
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