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Family who lost everything in Bickington blaze thank generous strangers

PUBLISHED: 11:30 19 February 2014

Melanie Goldsmith-Aston, Franklyn Robinson and six-year-old Ruby have been overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers after a fire destroyed all of their belongings.

Melanie Goldsmith-Aston, Franklyn Robinson and six-year-old Ruby have been overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers after a fire destroyed all of their belongings.

Archant

The young family were ‘overwhelmed’ when a number of strangers donated items of furniture after everything they owned was destroyed in fire.

The scene of the fire at Bickington today (Sat).The scene of the fire at Bickington today (Sat).

A YOUNG family have been ‘completely overwhelmed’ by the generosity of strangers after a house fire destroyed everything they owned on Saturday.

Franklyn Robinson, 28, and Melanie Goldsmith-Aston, 29, had been storing their belongings in Victoria Cottage in Bickington before they moved into their new flat in Braunton today (Weds).

But on Saturday just before 5pm fire fighters were called to flames issuing from the house and spent hours battling the blaze which has left the property as a charred shell.

The scene of the fire in Bickington the morning after.The scene of the fire in Bickington the morning after.

‘Absolutely devastated’

“We had been staying in the George Hotel in Braunton which my uncle owns and all we had here was a bed frame,” Franklyn, who works as a chef at the pub, told the Gazette.

“On Saturday night my friend rang me and told me what had happened – we are just absolutely devastated.

“Everything we have in the world was in the house – brand new furniture, beds, chairs, sofas and everything we’d bought for my daughter Ruby’s room as well.”

‘Completely overwhelmed’

Franklyn contacted the Items for Sale Barnstaple page on Facebook to explain what had happened and ask if anyone had a double mattress for sale.

“We thought if we only had a mattress we could make do and build up everything else as we went along,” said Franklyn.

But the couple were amazed when dozens of strangers started responding to the post, donating items of furniture, clothes, cutlery and bags of toys for six-year-old Ruby.

“We just couldn’t believe how many people donated things; we were completely overwhelmed and still can’t get our heads around it,” said Melanie.

Facebook page administrator Robert Chugg gave up his time and fuel to travel around to the well-wishers and fill his van with the items for the couple.

Melanie added: “We are so grateful to him for giving up his time, and to everyone who donated – they’ll never understand how much it means to us.”

‘Can’t thank everyone enough’

The couple are now hoping to move on, and said as they can start to buy their own belongings again, they hope they can give the donations to a good cause.

Melanie added: “We just want to give something back and can’t thank everyone enough.”

The cause of the fire, which saw Bickington Road closed for several hours while fire fighters fought to contain it, is still under investigation.

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