Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Winslet tells of island fire ordeal

Kate Winslet and her family escaped unharmed
Kate Winslet and her family escaped unharmed

Kate Winslet has spoken of her relief after escaping a fire which devastated the luxury Caribbean home of Sir Richard Branson.

The British actress was among 20 people who fled The Great House on Necker Island as it was razed to the ground on Monday.

Kate, whose two young children also escaped from the burning eight-bedroom property, told reporters: "I'm just so glad that everyone is safe. And this very easily could not have been the case."

Speaking for the first time since the incident she added: "I will never forget Richard placing his arms around both my children as we were there watching the flames, and saying 'At the end of the day, what you realise is that all that matters is the people you love. Everything else is just stuff. And none of that stuff really matters'."

The Titanic star helped carry Sir Richard's 90-year-old mother Eve from the burning property, which was struck by lightning during a tropical storm in the early hours.

Kate, 35, who won an Oscar for her role in the 2008 movie The Reader, has a daughter Mia, 10, from her first marriage to Jim Threapleton, and a son, Joe, seven, by second husband, director Sam Mendes, from whom she is separated.

Both children and a number of other guests, including the businessman's 29-year-old daughter Holly, all escaped from the fire unscathed.

The tycoon was staying in another property around 100 yards away with his wife, Joan, and son, Sam, 25.

His daughter Holly and her shipbroker fiance Freddie Andrews were planning to get married on the island in December and despite the fire the businessman has insisted the event will still go ahead.

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Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant

Capricorn:

Your heart and head are working in perfect harmony. This is a good time to make plans for the future. Pursuing a childhood dream is strongly advised. You're a highly practical person who doesn't like building castles in the air. Stop disparaging fantasies. They can take you to incredible heights. The prospect of fulfilling your potential should appeal to an ambitious person like you. Fortunately, friends will be very supportive. Ask for help whenever you get stuck in a tight corner.More