Wonderful to see everyone helping out
The Mayor of Ashford, Cllr David Smith, says he has been amazed by the generosity by people from across the borough in response to the fire.
He said: “The way the Ashford people have pulled together is amazing.
“Being mayor, it is wonderful to see everyone coming together to help these two families.
“Ashford gets a lot of bad press, but the way everyone has donated so much is just great. It makes me very proud.
“Lee Stanley from The British Volunteer has done a brilliant job helping organise all the donations.” Hundreds of household items have been donated to two families after a blaze left them homeless and with nothing.
Within hours of the fire starting, hundreds of people had joined a Facebook group titled ‘Please help a family who have lost everything tonight’. The group now has more than 1,400 members.
It called for any donations, in particular clothing, to be dropped off at The British Volunteer, in New Street, Ashford.
Since then, the owners of the pub have been inundated with donations – more than 600 items – from generous people all over Ashford.
Landlord Lee Stanley, who took over the pub in April, said: “We just can’t believe the response. It has been amazing.
“We decided to get involved after we saw something on Facebook on Monday night which said that all the family had was the clothes they were standing in.
“We put a message up saying people could use the pub as a drop off point for anything.
“People have been handing in cash. Someone donated a cheque for £250, others have given £20 or £30. Tesco also donated a £100 voucher. It has really shocked us.
“We thought we would get a few bags but we have had so much. The family are basically having to start over again.”
As well as money, hundreds of everyday household items have been received, including toiletries, towels, bedding, food, kitchen utensils, as well as bags and bags of clothing.
Landlady Sam Newberry added: “We’ve had some people coming in twice. They’ve dropped stuff off, then gone off again and come back with more!”
Paul Short, from Willesborough, has been helping organise the deliveries to the pub.
He said: “I wanted to help out after I saw what had happened. I know a lot of people in Ashford and everyone is coming together.
“I am surprised at how many people are helping out. At 10pm on Monday night, 250 people had joined the group, by the next day it had more than 1,000.”
As the pub isn’t able to take any large furniture pieces, Lok’nStore, in Wotton Road, offered a unit for free to store any bigger donations.
The McColls store in Stanhope, also has a collection tin.
If you would like to donate, please drop off any items to The British Volunteer or call Mr Stanley on 01233 640346 for more information.
Mayor Cllr David Smith