Fire tragedy victims say a big thank you

Sarah Browne (right) and her dog Taz are welcomed by Sysonby Knoll manager Vicky Wilkin
Sarah Browne (right) and her dog Taz are welcomed by Sysonby Knoll manager Vicky Wilkin
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A couple left homeless when fire gutted their house said they’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness shown by residents and businesses in the Melton area.

Sarah and Rosie Browne and their dog, Taz, were lucky to escape with their lives when their neighbour’s house in Grantham Road, Bottesford, caught fire and spread to burn down their 1779-dated home 11 days ago.

Following the tragedy the couple have had to seek shelter at the Sysonby Knoll Hotel.

But despite their possessions being damaged by the smoke they said they’ve been heartened by the generosity and support of local people.

“It’s been unreal,” said Sarah, (44), who owns Derek Whitehouse Photography in Melton’s Church Street.

“Everyone has been so supportive and we just can’t thank people enough.

“You don’t know you’re part of a community until something like this happened and we’re just so touched by people’s generosity.

Sarah and Rosie, who is deputy headteacher at Old Dalby Primary School, could face up to a year’s wait before they’re allowed back to their home.

Sarah described the moment she realised her home was alight.

“We were working in the garden when we saw thick black smoke coming from the house. We came round to the front to investigate but it was too late and we could only wait for the fire brigade to arrive.

“The fire just seemed to take over and it was scary how quickly the house went up flames.

“The upstairs bathroom and bedrooms have been completely ruined by the fire but downstairs isn’t as bad with most of our belongings untouched by the fire but covered by black soot.”

The pair said they are looking at new accommodation and concentrating on work to get back to some kind of reality.

“The hardest thing is seeing our possessions through the window and not being able to go in and get them,” said Sarah.

“I had some tropical fish but now they’re dead. It sounds silly but it’ll be the little things we’ll miss being able to do like doing the garden.”

Sarah and Rosie would like to say a special thank you to the Sysonby Knoll Hotel for taking them in and providing shelter for dog Taz.

They’d also like to thank some of Melton and the borough’s businesses including Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, who have donated food vouchers, Stapleford Park, who have lent blankets, On The Sands Cafe and Deli, who have provided free breakfasts, Greggs and Pets At Home, who have given the couple food and a bed for Taz.

Others who have helped the couple get back on their feet include the staff, parents and pupils at Old Dalby Primary School, the villagers of Bottesford and loyal friend Karen Oliver.

l The body of a woman was found at the cottage where the fire started. At the time of going to press police said they couldn’t confirm whether she died as a result of the fire. She has been identified locally as Lesley Grice.

Police said they weren’t treating the blaze as suspicious.