A village in Havering has marked the “emotional” first anniversary of a fire which destroyed 18 homes last summer.

Wennington was devastated by a wildfire on July 19 last year, with many residents subsequently having to be rehomed in alternative accommodation.

More than 100 firefighters worked for hours to bring the fire under control and a major incident was declared by the council.

One Wennington resident previously told the Recorder that the fire “was like something out of a film”, as people fled their homes with their belongings on their shoulders. 

A commemorative service was held in Wennington Parish Church on the evening of the one year anniversary, led by Reverend Elise Peterson.

She told the gathered villagers that it was “rather unimaginable” that work was still continuing to rebuild the homes that were lost.

Havering Council said that all of the damaged homes have been demolished, while planning permission has been granted for 13 properties to be rebuilt.

Romford Recorder: Aerial footage shows devastation in the aftermath of last year's Wennington fires Aerial footage shows devastation in the aftermath of last year's Wennington fires (Image: PA)

Rev. Peterson said: “I’ve had a number of conversations with people over the past year, and in recent days and we acknowledge that the fire was not a good thing, but there have been good things that have come out of the situation.

“Getting to know some of our neighbours that we’ve never met before.

“I’ve got to meet many of you, that I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet before, learning to come together to support one another and encourage one another and trying to look forward with hope.”

Some of the homes destroyed by last year’s wildfire were reportedly uninsured, prompting the council to step in to support displaced people.  

Leader of Havering Council, Cllr Ray Morgon, said: “It was a very emotional day but it was fitting that the events of last year were marked so that we don’t forget them and that we can continue to work at preventing such events from happening again.

“Over the past year we have worked closely with residents to help them get their lives back on track and we’ll continue to stand with them as they rebuild their homes by giving advice and support whenever it’s needed.”