GALLERY: Villagers rally round to raise funds for two householders whose homes were destroyed in a fire.

Marshland St James hosted its village fayre, and villagers were asked to bring items to donate to th

Marshland St James hosted its village fayre, and villagers were asked to bring items to donate to the families affected by the house fire in the village. Samurai Karate school. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

A community has rallied round to support two householders whose homes were destroyed in a fire by donating money raised from a village fair.

Marshland St James hosted its village fayre and villagers were asked to bring items to donate to th

Marshland St James hosted its village fayre and villagers were asked to bring items to donate to the families affected by the house fire in the village. Part of the collection team for fire victims, Left: Debi Hook, Susan Wabe, Fire Victims, Amy Smith, Richard Cavill, Jo Smith and helper Penny Heap. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

A Facebook page set up by residents in Marshland St James, near Wisbech, has been inundated with offers of help after the families lost all their possessions.

A last-minute stall set up at the village’s Spring fair raised more than £500, which will be shared between Richard Cavill and his neighbour Amy Smith. A separate online donation page has raised £120.

Mr Cavill, 35, said he has been overwhelmed by the generosity of the local community.

“I can’t thank everyone enough,” he said. “It’s so humbling to think that people are prepared to help in this way, even though they didn’t know me or my neighbour.”

Marshland St James hosted its village fayre and villagers were asked to bring items to donate to th

Marshland St James hosted its village fayre and villagers were asked to bring items to donate to the families affected by the house fire in the village. The stall for clothes and items for fire victims. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant


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Mr Cavill, who runs his own piling and foundations business, Meadowson, in Wisbech, said he heard a bang on Friday morning and shortly afterwards saw smoke coming from his living room. The blaze took hold of both his and his neighbours home and around 22 firefighters were called to tackle the blaze in Trinity Road.

The father-of-two was so upset that his neighbour also lost their home that he and his family have bought them a static caravan to live in.

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“I know it was a pure accident, but I just feel so guilty about what happened,” he said.

“My feeling now is the realisation that I have not got a single possession left. My sister has come over and everybody has been so supportive. My girlfriend lives in Downham Market so I can stay with her.”

House Fire, Trinity Rd. Marshland st James. Picture: Steve Williams.

House Fire, Trinity Rd. Marshland st James. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Neighbour Amy Smith, who lives with her husband and daughter, said she was at work when the fire broke out, but her daughter Jo Smith was at home, and had to leave the property.

Bob Ayers, King’s Lynn fire station manager, said crews from Wisbech and Lynn were initially deployed, followed by two more crews from Lynn and one from West Walton, and the aerial ladder platform.

He said: “Both the floor and the roof of a left-hand pair of semi-detached houses were alight. Because of the size of the fire we did not go inside.

“The man in the left hand property said he has been renovating the property.

“The left hand property was totally gutted and is uninhabitable - there are just walls left. The roof has gone in the right hand property.”

He said cause of the fire was “likely to be an electrical issue.”

Martin Peckitt, a committee trustee for the Marshland St James and District Community Sports Centre, who helped organise the fair to raise funds, said: “It was terrible that two families lost their homes, but we have a strong community spirit here and it’s wonderful people pulled together to help them.”

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