Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

June’s thanks to Ilfracombe following bungalow blaze

14:02 26 March 2014

June Booth chats to Graham Bye, loss assessor for claim consultants Morgan Clark, who have been helping her deal with the claims process following the devastation of her bungalow.

June Booth chats to Graham Bye, loss assessor for claim consultants Morgan Clark, who have been helping her deal with the claims process following the devastation of her bungalow.

Archant

June Booth, 84, pays tribute to the Ilfracombe community, which has launched an appeal after her home was devastated by a flash fire.

June Booth's bungalow at Chambercombe Park Road in the aftermath of the fire.June Booth's bungalow at Chambercombe Park Road in the aftermath of the fire.

AN 84-year-old Ilfracombe woman who lost everything after being forced to flee her burning bungalow has spoken of her ordeal and deep gratitude to all those who have rallied around to help her.

June Booth and her cat Tiger were able to escape just in time as flames ripped through her home at Chambercombe Park Road in seconds on Wednesday evening.

Six fire engines plus the hydraulic platform from Barnstaple were called out as around 50 fire fighters under Group Commander Pete Bond fought the blaze, which spread incredibly quickly and left the house gutted.

Neither June nor Tiger were injured, but she was literally left with nothing.

The scene on Wednesday evening.The scene on Wednesday evening.

This has prompted a huge surge of support from people and businesses around Ilfracombe after being rallied by David Jones from Hele Corn Mill, and they have been busy collecting clothing and donations to help June through the crisis.

“It is terribly kind of people and I am just overwhelmed, I really am,” she told the North Devon Gazette.

“I didn’t think Ilfracombe had such a fantastic community spirit and I am really deeply grateful. It has been a tremendous help, as I came out with only what I was stood up in.

“I lost everything. I have no identity now – my nephew is trying to get another birth certificate for me, otherwise I can’t get anything.

“But it’s only things, it’s not important. I would have been much more upset if the cat had gone – possessions are not important in this world.”

She said on Wednesday she had lit an open fire as she usually did before settling down to listen to the evening news, before popping back into the kitchen.

“Literally 30 seconds later I walked back and smelt this burning, and I just couldn’t get into the room, it was as quick as that,” continued June.

She said it appeared a spark had jumped from the fire and set light to the furniture.

“My reaction was to run to the telephone and get the fire brigade, but I don’t think they could hear me as they kept asking what service I wanted. The phone line runs through that room and I think it must have been slowly melting,” she added.

A neighbour called the fire service and June said their response had been ‘fantastic’.

A terrified Tiger

Tiger fled, but was nowhere to be found. June said she had wanted to go and call for him but fire fighters would not let her approach because the windows were exploding.

Eventually a terrified Tiger was returned to her by a fireman, who found him in a panic trying to get back into the burning house.

June has been staying with a neighbour, but in the meantime a Facebook appeal initially posted by David Jones has seen a huge response.

Community rallies around

Donations of clothing and useful items have flooded in – so much so that enough have been collected, plus people and businesses have been organising collections to help June get back on her feet.

David said Nick Pedlar had arranged for collection jars at High Street shops, Tesco Ilfracombe had held a raffle, musician Paul Clews was arranging a music event at Larkstone, Kerry Turton at nearby Pinehurst nursing home organised a collection of clothing, as had William Hill in the High Street.

“I think people have felt very distressed by her plight, even though they don’t know her,” said David.

“It can’t be emphasised how quickly the residents of Ilfracombe have rallied in support of someone who has had such a tragic loss. Sometimes Ilfracombe gets a bit of bad press but in this case I think the community has shown itself to be admirable.”

The Rotary Club of Ilfracombe has offered use of its bank account temporarily. Anyone wishing to make a direct donation for June can do so at a Lloyds Bank branch, to: Sort code 30-94-52 and account number 00318046 – please quote reference ‘Fire Appeal’.

* Anyone who wishes to donate by cheque can do so, making them payable to June Booth and dropping them at the Ilfracombe branch of NatWest in the High Street. They can be posted to: June Booth Fire Appeal, NatWest, 135 High Street, Ilfracombe, EX34 9HA.

0 comments

Other News Stories

11:12
Cats Protection volunteers with the new van. Picture: submitted

Generous supporters help fund new van for re-homing charity

Read more
Visit South Molton Vintage Rally this weekend (June 4 and 5)

See more than 300 vintage vehicles and machinery at Combsland Cross this weekend.

Read more
08:00
This is a rare opportunity to visit Plaz Metaxu near Witheridge.

The unusual garden at Coombe House will be open to the public next Sunday for a one-off charity event.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:46
Saunton Beach will be packed with wartime vehicles on Friday and Saturday, June 3-4 to commemorate the anniversary of D-Day

Don’t miss Devon D-Day on Friday and Saturday, June 3-4.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00
What's on in North Devon this week?

This year’s annual Braunton Village Fair will celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.

Read more
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Jacqui and Ben, the two winners.

Former runner up is crowned chef of the year in North Devon competition at Petroc.

Read more
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Fire fighters will be walking around various fire stations in North Devon for Children's Hospice South West.

The group of fire fighters will be walking from Okehampton fire station to Lynton fire station over 24 hours, in full kit and breathing apparatus.

Read more
Saturday, May 28, 2016
The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon is bidding for a £1.6million extension. Picture: Andy Keeble

Members of the public asked to give their opinions on plans for a £1.8million extension of the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.

Read more
Friday, May 27, 2016
Staff at Caen Medical Centre in Braunton celebrate receiving a rating for outstanding

Inspectors full of praise for local GP surgery and how it works with the community

Read more
Friday, May 27, 2016
The new riverside walkway has opened at Anchorwood Bank in Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

Members of walking group take a stroll with dignitaries as footpath opens

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 10°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications