Kendal families left homeless by Sandylands fire celebrate Christmas

Kendal families left homeless by Sandylands fire celebrate Christmas

Kendal families left homeless by Sandylands fire celebrate Christmas

First published in News

FAMILIES left devastated by a Kendal house fire have celebrated Christmas but continue to live with uncertainty.

Claire Holden and Tim Graham, whose attic the fire started in at Sandylands Road, spent the day with Claire’s mum in a temporary return to normality.

But three weeks on from the fire they still have nowhere to live with their five children, relying on family and friends to look after them.

Ms Holden, who is expecting a baby in February, said she was angry after a meeting with South Lakeland District Council just before Christmas.

The family learned it had been downgraded in the council’s choice based lettings scheme to a category E, when A is classed as an emergency.

“We would like to know what an emergency is,” she said.

“You couldn’t get more of a crisis at this time of year.

“We have been told to look for rented accommodation but it is proving difficult because nobody wants to let in a family of seven with three dogs.”

A spokesman for the council said it is working with the family and doing all it can to help.

Neil and Jennifer Armstrong, who lived next door with daughter Anya Maycock, 11, and their son Max, 2, spent Christmas Day with Jennifer’s sister.

Mrs Armstrong said it was nice for them all to take their minds off the fire.

“The run up to Christmas has been marred by the fire and in the last week I have felt very sad about it all,” she said.

But Anya and Max’s big day was made more special thanks to the generosity of the Westmorland Shopping Centre, where director Alan Green arranged for all their Christmas presents to be replaced, along with Neil’s son Daniel, whose gifts were also destroyed in the fire.

Mrs Armstrong said: “It was brilliant for the kids; Santa came to see them and Max was telling him about our ‘broken house’ and making sure he knew where we are staying.

“We’d like to say a massive thank you to Alan and everyone at the shopping centre who made it possible.”

Grandfather Cyril Jenkinson, who lives two doors down from the fire also had to move out.

“I have been at the Castle Green Hotel but I am being kicked out on New Year’s Eve as they don’t have any rooms then,” he said.

“All the things that are smoke damaged need assessing properly but of course everything closes down for Christmas.”

Jonny Gios from Sandylands Methodist Church paid tribute to the community, including the Sandylands Residents’ Association and other church members, who have rallied round to help the families.

He has handed over ‘hundreds of pounds’ in donations, saying “I am filled with astonishment at how much we have been able to raise for the families affected by the house fire.

“They truly are grateful and our thoughts and prayers are with all the families as they seek to get back into their properties next year.”

The new landlady at The Sawyers Arms at Stricklandgate in Kendal, Jacqueline Hadley, is organising a fund-raiser for the affected families, and is appealing for donations of lots for an auction.

She met Mr Graham when he came into the pub and pledged to do everything she could to help.

“With five children and one on the way, it must be severely stressful,” she said.

Anyone with items to donate can call into the pub or call Ms Hadley on 01539 729737.

Comments (18)

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7:25pm Thu 27 Dec 12

zaney5 says...

Time for the council to get their finger out and sort out some accommodation for this poor family. How can they down grade them? This is an emergency.
Time for the council to get their finger out and sort out some accommodation for this poor family. How can they down grade them? This is an emergency. zaney5
  • Score: 0

9:55am Fri 28 Dec 12

Ladyxxmacbeth says...

if they own their own house they should have home insurance, simple as that. I should stop paying nearly £300 a year and hope if my house burns down that people will give me money and the council will rehome me.
Even if it is a council house the residents should have contents insurance and the council will fix their house for them same as if it is privately rented.
I don't have a lot of sympathy for all these people that seem to think that it is up to the council and government to step in and sort their lives out for them. They should have thought about the future and what they would do in an emergency.
From what the report says they at least have family they can stay with. For some people on the waiting list for a house they have no family, no where to live, and no support network around them. They should think themselves lucky!
if they own their own house they should have home insurance, simple as that. I should stop paying nearly £300 a year and hope if my house burns down that people will give me money and the council will rehome me. Even if it is a council house the residents should have contents insurance and the council will fix their house for them same as if it is privately rented. I don't have a lot of sympathy for all these people that seem to think that it is up to the council and government to step in and sort their lives out for them. They should have thought about the future and what they would do in an emergency. From what the report says they at least have family they can stay with. For some people on the waiting list for a house they have no family, no where to live, and no support network around them. They should think themselves lucky! Ladyxxmacbeth
  • Score: 0

9:55am Fri 28 Dec 12

Ladyxxmacbeth says...

if they own their own house they should have home insurance, simple as that. I should stop paying nearly £300 a year and hope if my house burns down that people will give me money and the council will rehome me.
Even if it is a council house the residents should have contents insurance and the council will fix their house for them same as if it is privately rented.
I don't have a lot of sympathy for all these people that seem to think that it is up to the council and government to step in and sort their lives out for them. They should have thought about the future and what they would do in an emergency.
From what the report says they at least have family they can stay with. For some people on the waiting list for a house they have no family, no where to live, and no support network around them. They should think themselves lucky!
if they own their own house they should have home insurance, simple as that. I should stop paying nearly £300 a year and hope if my house burns down that people will give me money and the council will rehome me. Even if it is a council house the residents should have contents insurance and the council will fix their house for them same as if it is privately rented. I don't have a lot of sympathy for all these people that seem to think that it is up to the council and government to step in and sort their lives out for them. They should have thought about the future and what they would do in an emergency. From what the report says they at least have family they can stay with. For some people on the waiting list for a house they have no family, no where to live, and no support network around them. They should think themselves lucky! Ladyxxmacbeth
  • Score: 0

11:06am Fri 28 Dec 12

Lakeuk says...

Ladyxxmacbeth- Recommend you do a little search of the internet kind, soul searching can come later ;) save yourself jumping to conclusions
Ladyxxmacbeth- Recommend you do a little search of the internet kind, soul searching can come later ;) save yourself jumping to conclusions Lakeuk
  • Score: 0

1:27pm Fri 28 Dec 12

Ladyxxmacbeth says...

I haven't jumped to conclusions I haved covered myself by mentioning every circumstance.
I mentioned if they own it, if it was council and if it was privatly rented. There is nothing to mention they had house insurance and if they had then when they get their payout for all their lost gifts etc then are they going to pay people back?

I'm just wondering why this is news. Family get loads of money from well wishers for christmas, but are still moaning because the council wont house them. Sounds to me like promotion of self pity !
I haven't jumped to conclusions I haved covered myself by mentioning every circumstance. I mentioned if they own it, if it was council and if it was privatly rented. There is nothing to mention they had house insurance and if they had then when they get their payout for all their lost gifts etc then are they going to pay people back? I'm just wondering why this is news. Family get loads of money from well wishers for christmas, but are still moaning because the council wont house them. Sounds to me like promotion of self pity ! Ladyxxmacbeth
  • Score: 0

2:27pm Fri 28 Dec 12

Kendmoor says...

previous report said there was no house insurance I think
previous report said there was no house insurance I think Kendmoor
  • Score: 0

2:38pm Fri 28 Dec 12

Lakeuk says...

Are you sure Kendmoor? Have another read
Are you sure Kendmoor? Have another read Lakeuk
  • Score: 0

2:59pm Fri 28 Dec 12

zaney5 says...

Ladyxxmacbeth wrote:
if they own their own house they should have home insurance, simple as that. I should stop paying nearly £300 a year and hope if my house burns down that people will give me money and the council will rehome me.
Even if it is a council house the residents should have contents insurance and the council will fix their house for them same as if it is privately rented.
I don't have a lot of sympathy for all these people that seem to think that it is up to the council and government to step in and sort their lives out for them. They should have thought about the future and what they would do in an emergency.
From what the report says they at least have family they can stay with. For some people on the waiting list for a house they have no family, no where to live, and no support network around them. They should think themselves lucky!
Way to go with the compassion. People like you make me sick.
[quote][p][bold]Ladyxxmacbeth[/bold] wrote: if they own their own house they should have home insurance, simple as that. I should stop paying nearly £300 a year and hope if my house burns down that people will give me money and the council will rehome me. Even if it is a council house the residents should have contents insurance and the council will fix their house for them same as if it is privately rented. I don't have a lot of sympathy for all these people that seem to think that it is up to the council and government to step in and sort their lives out for them. They should have thought about the future and what they would do in an emergency. From what the report says they at least have family they can stay with. For some people on the waiting list for a house they have no family, no where to live, and no support network around them. They should think themselves lucky![/p][/quote]Way to go with the compassion. People like you make me sick. zaney5
  • Score: 0

3:12pm Fri 28 Dec 12

word-to-the-wise2011 says...

Either with or without insurance the problems cannot be solved overnight they will take months at least when it comes to something as serious as a house fire. The distress to those families and the children who lost many of their possessions and Christmas gifts is the reason why so many generous people & business pulled together to help out. Having this happen should hardly make them "think themselves lucky"!
Well done to those who helped out but remember all, that it will be a long time before these people can go back to a normal life.
Either with or without insurance the problems cannot be solved overnight they will take months at least when it comes to something as serious as a house fire. The distress to those families and the children who lost many of their possessions and Christmas gifts is the reason why so many generous people & business pulled together to help out. Having this happen should hardly make them "think themselves lucky"! Well done to those who helped out but remember all, that it will be a long time before these people can go back to a normal life. word-to-the-wise2011
  • Score: 0

3:14pm Fri 28 Dec 12

word-to-the-wise2011 says...

Businesses I might add! :o)
Businesses I might add! :o) word-to-the-wise2011
  • Score: 0

4:09pm Fri 28 Dec 12

lakesailor says...

As you are all using computers, why not just search for the original report?


"We were insured so we can claim everything back, but it takes a long time," she said."
"My mum Lynne lives in an extension we’ve just built on the side of the house."

That seems to answer the points you are squabbling about.
As you are all using computers, why not just search for the original report? "We were insured so we can claim everything back, but it takes a long time," she said." "My mum Lynne lives in an extension we’ve just built on the side of the house." That seems to answer the points you are squabbling about. lakesailor
  • Score: 0

4:12pm Fri 28 Dec 12

word-to-the-wise2011 says...

Thanks "Lakesailor"; that's the very point I was trying to make.
Thanks "Lakesailor"; that's the very point I was trying to make. word-to-the-wise2011
  • Score: 0

7:04pm Fri 28 Dec 12

Kendmoor says...

"As you are all using computers, why not just search for the original report?"

for my part I wasn't really in on the discussion so didn't bother looking (its not really a subject or topic that interests me) my comment was more a "I think" than a statement, so more than happy to be corrected (and happy for them too!) :)
"As you are all using computers, why not just search for the original report?" for my part I wasn't really in on the discussion so didn't bother looking (its not really a subject or topic that interests me) my comment was more a "I think" than a statement, so more than happy to be corrected (and happy for them too!) :) Kendmoor
  • Score: 0

8:00pm Mon 31 Dec 12

55sarah55 says...

Actually if you read the articles correctly the family pictured above lived next door and lost a lot of possessions through the fire spreading through the loft. The shopping centre kindly gave this family some Christmas gifts. They are in rented accommadation now and trying to get their house sorted which will take months.the family who weren't insured lived in the house where the fire started and they are the ones with nowhere to live. Please read carefully before making sweeping judgements!
Actually if you read the articles correctly the family pictured above lived next door and lost a lot of possessions through the fire spreading through the loft. The shopping centre kindly gave this family some Christmas gifts. They are in rented accommadation now and trying to get their house sorted which will take months.the family who weren't insured lived in the house where the fire started and they are the ones with nowhere to live. Please read carefully before making sweeping judgements! 55sarah55
  • Score: 0

8:34pm Mon 31 Dec 12

jenn72 says...

After reading some of the comments it felt like a kick in the teeth!! We live next door to the people where the house fire started, who didn't have insurance so we could not claim from them, we did and that is not down to Luck but common sense! Because of this we are able to put a claim in but this is a very slow process which canbe frustrating as all we want is to be able to go back to the house we call home, that we have spent the last 3 years renovating and making sure there is room for our 3 children and the conversion which we just completed for my Mother. We recently got married so after all the work and the cost of the Wedding we did not have a lot of spare cash so when we had to leave our home we had to use some of that to buy new clothes, things for the rented house. I have always been in favour of charity and have given myself over the years, when you are on the receiving end it is difficult to accept but we were so grateful for the Westmorland Shopping Centre helping out and buying our Children replacement presents, we have had no payments from our Insurance company yet apart fromm monies paid out for Rent. I cannot begin to tell you how difficult this has been for my family, we have lost our home for the next few months and it will be a slow process before we can go home so for those of you with negative things to say, take a look around your home, sat on your sofa watching your television, cooking in your own Kitchen and just realise how much you take this for granted. My Daughter lost everything, she even got upset because her school books were ruined! My Son doesn't understand why he can't go home. As the comment made by my sister above, don't make sweeping judgements, this is hell for my family at the moment, compounded by the fact its Christmas and we are having to make the effort to celebrate!!!
After reading some of the comments it felt like a kick in the teeth!! We live next door to the people where the house fire started, who didn't have insurance so we could not claim from them, we did and that is not down to Luck but common sense! Because of this we are able to put a claim in but this is a very slow process which canbe frustrating as all we want is to be able to go back to the house we call home, that we have spent the last 3 years renovating and making sure there is room for our 3 children and the conversion which we just completed for my Mother. We recently got married so after all the work and the cost of the Wedding we did not have a lot of spare cash so when we had to leave our home we had to use some of that to buy new clothes, things for the rented house. I have always been in favour of charity and have given myself over the years, when you are on the receiving end it is difficult to accept but we were so grateful for the Westmorland Shopping Centre helping out and buying our Children replacement presents, we have had no payments from our Insurance company yet apart fromm monies paid out for Rent. I cannot begin to tell you how difficult this has been for my family, we have lost our home for the next few months and it will be a slow process before we can go home so for those of you with negative things to say, take a look around your home, sat on your sofa watching your television, cooking in your own Kitchen and just realise how much you take this for granted. My Daughter lost everything, she even got upset because her school books were ruined! My Son doesn't understand why he can't go home. As the comment made by my sister above, don't make sweeping judgements, this is hell for my family at the moment, compounded by the fact its Christmas and we are having to make the effort to celebrate!!! jenn72
  • Score: 0

12:45pm Wed 2 Jan 13

jazzactivist says...

Jen72, I really sympathise with you. It must be absolutely awful to have your home burnt down though no fault of your own, especially around what is meant to be a festive time of the year. You all deserve a few gifts to ease your hearts. I hope your insurance company gets a move on now that everyone is back at work, and you are back in your home as quickly as possible.

I think some people here typed out of anger at the other couple's seeming lack of responsibility. I thought it was a legal requirement to have buildings insurance on an owner-occupied house, even after a mortgage is paid off. If it is privately rented or Council owned the owner has to pay it. The couple from the house where the fire started do sound a bit feckless - no insurance AND a huge family of five children and another on the way! I think some people read that and had a knee-jerk reaction to the assistance they are getting when they are responsible for the fire. Hope you and your family have a much better 2013.
Jen72, I really sympathise with you. It must be absolutely awful to have your home burnt down though no fault of your own, especially around what is meant to be a festive time of the year. You all deserve a few gifts to ease your hearts. I hope your insurance company gets a move on now that everyone is back at work, and you are back in your home as quickly as possible. I think some people here typed out of anger at the other couple's seeming lack of responsibility. I thought it was a legal requirement to have buildings insurance on an owner-occupied house, even after a mortgage is paid off. If it is privately rented or Council owned the owner has to pay it. The couple from the house where the fire started do sound a bit feckless - no insurance AND a huge family of five children and another on the way! I think some people read that and had a knee-jerk reaction to the assistance they are getting when they are responsible for the fire. Hope you and your family have a much better 2013. jazzactivist
  • Score: 0

12:45pm Wed 2 Jan 13

jazzactivist says...

Jen72, I really sympathise with you. It must be absolutely awful to have your home burnt down though no fault of your own, especially around what is meant to be a festive time of the year. You all deserve a few gifts to ease your hearts. I hope your insurance company gets a move on now that everyone is back at work, and you are back in your home as quickly as possible.

I think some people here typed out of anger at the other couple's seeming lack of responsibility. I thought it was a legal requirement to have buildings insurance on an owner-occupied house, even after a mortgage is paid off. If it is privately rented or Council owned the owner has to pay it. The couple from the house where the fire started do sound a bit feckless - no insurance AND a huge family of five children and another on the way! I think some people read that and had a knee-jerk reaction to the assistance they are getting when they are responsible for the fire. Hope you and your family have a much better 2013.
Jen72, I really sympathise with you. It must be absolutely awful to have your home burnt down though no fault of your own, especially around what is meant to be a festive time of the year. You all deserve a few gifts to ease your hearts. I hope your insurance company gets a move on now that everyone is back at work, and you are back in your home as quickly as possible. I think some people here typed out of anger at the other couple's seeming lack of responsibility. I thought it was a legal requirement to have buildings insurance on an owner-occupied house, even after a mortgage is paid off. If it is privately rented or Council owned the owner has to pay it. The couple from the house where the fire started do sound a bit feckless - no insurance AND a huge family of five children and another on the way! I think some people read that and had a knee-jerk reaction to the assistance they are getting when they are responsible for the fire. Hope you and your family have a much better 2013. jazzactivist
  • Score: 0

1:24pm Wed 2 Jan 13

zaney5 says...

"The couple from the house where the fire started do sound a bit feckless - no insurance AND a huge family of five children and another on the way!"

So by that comment they got what they deserved did they?
"The couple from the house where the fire started do sound a bit feckless - no insurance AND a huge family of five children and another on the way!" So by that comment they got what they deserved did they? zaney5
  • Score: 0

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