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Crowdfunder set up for family of band members after Ardleigh Green fire devastates home

PUBLISHED: 17:00 19 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:51 20 July 2018

Around 25 firefighters tackled a fire caused by overheated electrical cables at a row of terraced houses in Northumberland Avenue. Picture: The London Fire Brigade.

Around 25 firefighters tackled a fire caused by overheated electrical cables at a row of terraced houses in Northumberland Avenue. Picture: The London Fire Brigade.

Archant

A Romford band has helped raise more than £1,700 for a Hornchurch family who are part of their group after a fire tore through their home.

Firefighters were called to reports of grass alight in the rear garden of home on Northumberland Avenue. Photo: David IronsFirefighters were called to reports of grass alight in the rear garden of home on Northumberland Avenue. Photo: David Irons

Amanda Freestone, 46, was with her partner, Mark Ellis, 51 and two daughters Lily-Rose, 12 and Poppy 11, at band practice when they received a worrying call from their neighbour telling them that their house was on fire.

“My husband came in screaming, ‘the house is on fire’ and so we rushed home,” she told the Recorder.

“The fire happened so fast. The whole house has been affected with smoke damage – the windows have blown out and melted. As we were driving back to the house we could see black smoke blowing out through the top of the house.”

The fire tore through the patio decking, back wall and rear windows of their home.

Mark Ellis, Amanda Freestone and their daughters, Poppy and Lily-Rose are members of The Royal British Legion Band and Corps of Drums Romford and recently had to leave their home following a fire. Picture: Mark Ellis and Amanda Freestone.Mark Ellis, Amanda Freestone and their daughters, Poppy and Lily-Rose are members of The Royal British Legion Band and Corps of Drums Romford and recently had to leave their home following a fire. Picture: Mark Ellis and Amanda Freestone.

Members of The Royal British Legion Band and Corps of Drums Romford set up a crowdfunder to raise money for the family.

“Everybody - all of the band and our friends - everyone has been so supportive,” said Amanda.

“It’s amazing, so heartfelt.”

Amanda explained that Mark is a “music man” as he plays various instruments, while she plays the euphonium – a brass instrument.

A fire caused by overheated electrical cables caused a fire at the back of a home in Northumberland Avenue, Ardleigh Green. Picture: Mark Ellis and Amanda Freestone.A fire caused by overheated electrical cables caused a fire at the back of a home in Northumberland Avenue, Ardleigh Green. Picture: Mark Ellis and Amanda Freestone.

Lily Rose, 12 plays the clarinet and Poppy, 11, plays the cornet.

The mum-of-two expressed her relief that the family was at band practice and not at home when the fire happened.

“On a typical evening I would have been upstairs with my two daughters watching Love Island at that time.

“I don’t think it has quite hit us yet. It’s all a bit surreal.

A fire caused by overheated electrical cables caused a fire at the back of a home in Northumberland Avenue, Ardleigh Green.  Picture: Mark Ellis and Amanda Freestone.A fire caused by overheated electrical cables caused a fire at the back of a home in Northumberland Avenue, Ardleigh Green. Picture: Mark Ellis and Amanda Freestone.

Sam Smyth from the Romford band set up the crowdfunder which has already had £1,760 donated of the £1,000 target.

“Most of the people who have donated money are band members, family and friends,” said Amanda.

“We don’t just march together for practice, we’re part of an organisation that is a big family.

“When things like this happen the community pulls together.”

The only members of the household who were at home when the fire began were the family’s two rescue cats, Patrick and Oscar.

Oscar is staying with a neighbour and while they have spotted Patrick in the neighbourhood they are still trying to catch him.

The fire also affected the rear and back gardens of two adjacent houses.

Alan James, Hornchurch watch manager said: “We believe the fire started when electric cables under the wooden decking became overheated.

“When we arrived the flames were giving the sky an orangey glow and the crews worked hard to stop the fire spreading to further properties.”

To support the family visit their crowdfunder page here.

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