Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Nearly £8k raised in web appeal for Rathfriland blaze family

By Cate McCurry

Published 23/12/2015

Twitter picture of Santa visiting the Peden family after the fire
Twitter picture of Santa visiting the Peden family after the fire
Andy and Rebecca Peden’s house and car were destroyed when fire spread from a nearby recycling plant in Rathfriland early yesterday
Andy and Rebecca Peden’s house and car were destroyed when fire spread from a nearby recycling plant in Rathfriland early yesterday
Andrew Peden and his wife Rebecca who escaped the fire.
The scene at Kiltariff Drive in Rathfriland, Co Down, where a family escaped injury after a major fire at a recycling centre spread to their house. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
The scene at Kiltariff Drive in Rathfriland, Co Down, where a family escaped injury after a major fire at a recycling centre spread to their house. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
The scene at Kiltariff Drive in Rathfriland, Co Down, where a family escaped injury after a major fire at a recycling centre spread to their house. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
The scene at Kiltariff Drive in Rathfriland, Co Down, where a family escaped injury after a major fire at a recycling centre spread to their house. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
The scene at Kiltariff Drive in Rathfriland, Co Down, where a family escaped injury after a major fire at a recycling centre spread to their house. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Andy and Rebecca Peden’s house and car were destroyed when fire spread from a nearby recycling plant in Rathfriland early yesterday

An online fundraising appeal to help the Pedens has raised almost £8,000 in just a few hours.

Shortly after the fire, a JustGiving page was set up and in its first hour more than £1,000 had been raised — with members of the public also donating items of furniture.

By last night, the donations had swelled to almost £8,000. Carla Lockhart, a DUP councillor on Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, who tweeted the total, said the generosity shown to the couple was overwhelming.

“Food, clothes, toys, furniture, cars, and even temporary houses have all been donated and it is just amazing,” she said.

“Tonight I spoke with Andrew and they are just broken with what has happened but cannot believe the generosity of people from all over the country. We are so thankful to God for preserving their lives at the end of the day. Earthly possessions can be replaced, a life cannot.”

Family friend and local DUP councillor Mark Baxter, who helped set up the JustGiving page, told the Belfast Telegraph that the initial target of the appeal was £1,000.

He said people have called to a number of DUP offices, including their Lurgan branch which took donations of hundreds of pounds.

“It’s unprecedented. People have been very good to the family,” he added. “I got an email from a woman who offered them a house in Banbridge if they need it.

“The whole family is devastated and the fact it’s so close to Christmas is horrible, but they have a lot of support. It’s nice to see the goodwill of people.”

Belfast Telegraph

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph