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Mile Cross community rallies around for fire-hit family

PUBLISHED: 15:30 28 February 2011 | UPDATED: 16:02 28 February 2011

Hayley Potter with her nine week old son Maison and Norwich fire crew manager Stefan Rider. Photo: ANTONY KELLY

Hayley Potter with her nine week old son Maison and Norwich fire crew manager Stefan Rider. Photo: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2011

Rain failed to dampen the community spirit in one Norwich neighbourhood as scores of people helped support a family whose house was gutted by fire.

Hayley Potter, her partner Paul Kemp and their four children were left with just the clothes on their backs after a blaze ripped through their house in Rye Avenue, Mile Cross.

But thanks to an appeal on Facebook and through word of mouth, hundreds of items to replace those lost have been donated by friends and people in the community. The family have now replaced all the furniture they lost in the fire.

At the weekend, a sale was held of all the surplus items which were donated.

Despite Saturday’s driving rain, dozens of people turned out at St Catherine’s Church Hall in Aylsham Road and snapped up nearly all the items on offer, raising more than £524.

The money will be split 50-50 between the family and the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

Ms Potter’s friend Paula Hunnam, who set up the Facebook page and coordinated the campaign to help the family, said: “We had quite a bit of rain in the morning on Saturday but there was a really good turn out.

“Hardly anything was left at the end of the day; nearly everything was bought and anything which wasn’t will go to charity.

“The family have now managed to replace all the furniture they needed and anything they haven’t managed to replace yet, they will hopefully now be able to buy with the money.”

Saturday’s sale was attended by Ms Potter and members of her family, the fire brigade and the Red Cross. The money which has been donated to the fire brigade will be used towards buying smoke detectors which are fitted into vulnerable people’s homes for free.

It is not known when the family will be able to move back into their own home.

Do you know of a Norwich community rallying round to help one of its own? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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