Widow heartbroken after losing late husband's possessions in heatwave fire

Jean Blanchflower, and daughter Dawn Blanchflower, outside her home in Poringland which was destroye

Jean Blanchflower, and daughter Dawn Turner, outside her home in Poringland which was destroyed by a fire during the heatwave. - Credit: Danielle Booden

A recently widowed pensioner has lost all of her beloved husband’s photographs and belongings in a fire which destroyed her home. 

When Jean Blanchflower, 80, was evacuated from her home during the heatwave on July 19 she told herself “I’ll be back tomorrow”.  

When she was showed a picture of the home she had lived in for 56 years a few hours later, she passed out from seeing the wreckage of rubble and lost memories.  

Jean Blanchflower outside her home in Poringland which was destroyed by a fire duirng the heatwave.

Jean Blanchflower lost all of her late husband's belongings in the fire. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Jean lived in the West View home in Poringland with her husband Michael Andrew Blanchflower where the pair raised their five children.  

Michael died on November 3, 2021, with all of his possessions remaining in the house. 

Michael and Jean’s daughter, Dawn Turner, 43, said: “When I heard about what happened I raced to mum's house in the hope I would be able to save some of dad's belongings. When I got close all I could see was a wall of thick black smoke.   

Jean Blanchflower outside her home in Poringland which was destroyed by a fire duirng the heatwave.

Jean Blanchflower, 80 is currently staying with daughter, Dawn Turner while she awaits temporary accommodation. - Credit: Danielle Booden

"I couldn’t breathe it was so bad – I went to look for mum in the community centre.” 

The home was filled with jewellery that Michael had bought for his adoring wife over their 62 years of marriage.   

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The house also contained “irreplaceable” photographs and a message from the Queen for their diamond anniversary. 

Jean Blanchflower, and daughter Dawn Blanchflower, outside her home in Poringland which was destroye

The West View family have not finished grieving, and now have lost all of the late Michael Blanchflower's belongings. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Jean said: “When Michael died I wasn’t able to get rid of his things. Now they’re gone.”  

Dawn added: “Mum slept with dad’s wallet under her pillow every night. He touched it every day and it was important to him – it's just done. 

“The fire brigade had ten other houses to save and no one was hurt so we can’t thank them enough.” 

Jean Blanchflower's home in Poringland which was destroyed by a fire duirng the heatwave. Picture: D

The Poringland family are still hopeful that some of Micheal Blanchflower's belongings will be found under the rubble. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Jean added: “I haven’t even started to process it yet. 

“When I look at the photos I ask myself: ‘Has it really gone? Am I really not going back there again?’” 

The family are hopeful that some of Michael's possessions will turn up in the rubble but for now Jean is living with Dawn in Bungay while she waits for temporary accommodation.   

Thankfully Jean does have home insurance and is further being supported by Poringland Parish Council which is raising funds for people affected by the fires.  

Jean Blanchflower's home in Poringland which was destroyed by a fire duirng the heatwave. Picture: D

Two homes were destroyed in the Poringland fires on July 19. - Credit: Danielle Booden