Pensioners left with just the clothes on their backs after lucky escape from fire which destroyed their home

A couple who lost their treasured possessions and memories after a fire at their home of 35 years are being supported by an online fundraiser, which has raised almost £2,000 to help them get back on their feet.

Friday, 11th September 2020, 7:00 pm
Fred and June Todd lost all their belongings in the house fire which destroyed their home

Fred and June Todd had a lucky escape from the fire at their home – in Avenue Vivian, Fence Houses – in the early hours of Monday, September 7.

June, 78, was woken by the property’s fire alarm at 5.45am after a blaze began in the living room of their home.

She and husband Fred, 82, managed to get themselves out of the house with just the clothes on their backs.

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Fred and June Todd have lost everything in a fire at their home in Fence Houses.

Now, great-grandaughter Anais Clegg, who turns 18 next week, has launched a fundraiser to help replace all they have lost.

Dozens of people have already donated, with the total climbing to almost £2,000 at time of writing.

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Anais’ mum Ashley Gillan, 35, said her family is blown away by the support for her grandparents from the local community and beyond.

The damage to Fred and June's home in Fence Houses.

"We honestly can’t believe how many people in Fence Houses have donated, and some people who don’t even know them,” she said.

"Grandad tries to look on the positive side of things but I think Nana is thinking of everything they have built up over 35 years of living there; it’s lost.”

Fred fell ill with a virus around 25 years ago, which affected his ability to walk.

He still struggles with his mobility and lost his electric scooter, wheelchair and crutches in the fire.

Fred and June's home was destroyed in the fire.

The couple were taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital in the aftermath of the fire, with June requiring a transfusion due to suffering from a rare blood cancer.

They are now staying with Ashley’s parents Amanda and Brian Clegg at their home nearby, with relatives rallying around to offer as much support as they can.

Amanda, 54, thanked the emergency services for the response and care provided to her parents during and after the fire, as well as the community for their generous donations.

Fred and June are now staying with family after the fire at their home.

She added: “They have donated to people who have needed it before, people think the world of them and want to help.”

St George's Residential Care Home were among those offering help, providing vouchers to buy the couple clothes and pledging support when they move into a new property in future.

Amanda also thanked the rest of her family – including sister Paula, son Graham and niece Leanne – for joining the effort to keep her parents safe and looked after.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue (TWFRS) crews from Rainton Bridge, Farringdon and Birtley were called to the blaze at Fred and June’s home, which the service says was caused by an electrical fault.

Ian Warne, Head of Prevention and Education at TWFRS, added: “The situation could have been much worse if they hadn’t been alerted to the fire by their smoke alarm.

“A fire like this could happen to anyone. Please check your electrical equipment and replace anything that’s showing signs of wear and tear.

"Never overload your plug sockets or buy cheap or counterfeit goods, as they’re unlikely to meet safety standards.”

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