Friends rally round to help young mum

CARING friends of a single mother whose house was destroyed in a fire have organised a ‘Friendly Fundraising Table Quiz’ on Friday to help her get back on her feet again.

Gayle Fegan, who has three young sons, two of whom suffer from ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder), lost virtually everything in the house fire in March.

She arrived back to her Ballyvalley Heights home on March 22 with her sons to find it shadowed in smoke. The cause is still being investigated and the devastation resulted in Gayle and the boys losing most of their personal possessions, as well as furniture and vital occupational therapy toys belonging to the younger children.

“The smoke was so thick I wasn’t really able to save anything,” she said. “I was able to throw a special weighted blanket which came from America out of the window - it is the only way one of the boys can get to sleep - but basically we had to flee with just the clothes we were wearing.”

Gayle now lives in temporary accommodation in Limewood and will be there for some time, as reconstruction work on her house - which had to be gutted back to the brickwork and internal walls - began just this week.

“It has been terrible, but I am just so grateful that we weren’t at home when the fire started in the middle of the afternoon,” said Gayle. “My friends, in particular Lyn Hoey and Carol Mackin, who have organised the quiz, have been a tremendous support. I cannot thank them enough.”

The young mother says one of the first items she needs to replace is a freezer and also the special toys which were lost in the fire.

“Fire officers arrived within seven minutes and they saved the house,” she added. “If they hadn’t started watering the roof when they did, the house would have gone too.”

The special quiz takes place at Banbridge Rugby Club this Friday, June 15, starting at 8pm. Tickets are £5 per person and a team of four is recommended.

Please note, children are not invited as there will be a bar. Anyone who would like further information should contact Lyn on 07716628381.