Won­der­ful to see ev­ery­one help­ing out

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Blaze Horror -

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

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