Honiton shows support for fire victims

PUBLISHED: 10:50 10 April 2013 | UPDATED: 10:50 10 April 2013

Stephanie Sparks with some of the kind donations given by the local community. Photo by Terry Ife ref mhh 0696-15-13TI

Stephanie Sparks with some of the kind donations given by the local community. Photo by Terry Ife ref mhh 0696-15-13TI

Archant

Honiton teen helps rally the community together following a tragic fire in the town.

A kind-hearted teenager has helped rally the community in Honiton following a tragic fire in the town.

Stephanie Sparks set up her own Facebook group and a collection point at her family home in George Street for people wishing to donate any furniture, clothing or electrical items for the family affected by the incident in Lee Close last Friday.

Two teenagers and a three-year-old died as a result of the blaze and a man in his 30s and a six-year-old were treated in hospital for smoke inhalation.

Along with her younger siblings, Stephanie pushed a trolley around the town visiting local businesses to get as many donations as possible last Saturday.

The 16-year-old says she has been overwhelmed by the community’s response.

“I’ve never seen people in Honiton come out like they have,” says Stephanie. “When I first heard about it, I felt I had to do something, I couldn’t sit back and watch it happening and felt I have got to help them.”

Stephanie was personally affected by a fire and knows how terrifying it was for her and wanted to do something to help the family get their lives back on track.

She added: “I have never seen anything like it – the first day people found out there was a collection, we started at 5pm and by 9pm the living room was full.”

Stephanie says there have been donations made by people living as far afield as Seaton.

Last Sunday a removal van from Beaumont and Mills, who have been collecting and storing the donations, was filled to the brim.

A spokesman for Beaumont and Mills said: “It has been overwhelming. We can’t believe the response we have had. We never expected it would be as it has been.”

She told the Midweek Herald that two lock-ups have been filled already with furniture and clothing donations.

Drop-off points have been set up in Honiton, Exeter, Sidmouth and even Plymouth.

She added: “We are asking people to donate absolutely anything.”

Any items that are duplicated will be sold off and the money will go into funds to help the family rebuild their life.

Donations will also be made to the Devon Air Ambulance Trust and the Fire Brigade Benevolent Fund and to the hospitals that treated the family.

A PayPal account has been set up for those wishing to donate money. Anyone wishing to do so can email Thehonitonfirefamily@hotmail.co.uk

All funds will later be transferred to a bank account, which is due to be set up shortly.

The community as a whole in Honiton has pulled together. St Paul’s Church held a collection and a candle has been lit in the chapel for the family.

The Rector of Honiton, the Reverend Sue Roberts, said: “The whole community has been really shocked by what has happened. Certainly our thoughts and prayers are with the family and with the immediate community around that particular part of Honiton for whom it must have been a terrible thing to witness.

“We are keeping them in our thoughts and our prayers. We want to do whatever we can to help.”

The Mayor of Honiton, Councillor David Foster is holding a quiz night with all proceeds raised going to help the family on Saturday, April 27, at Honiton Conservative Club from 7.30pm for 8pm.

Stephanie Sparks is appealing to any local businesses to donate any raffle prizes for the Mayor’s Quiz. To donate any items for the collection or raffle prizes please call her mum Vikki on 07703 461788.

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