A Northamptonshire family have been overwhelmed by support from family, friends and even strangers after fire destroyed their conservatory and all its contents.
Michelle and James Barrow are well-known for their Kettering McQueen cars which they take to events to raise money to buy items for youngsters in Kettering General Hospital’s Skylark Ward.
But following a blaze at their house on Monday afternoon, they have been inundated with offers of support.
More than £1,000 has been donated online and a fundraiser for the family has also been organised for this weekend.
Michelle said: “We are overwhelmed, we are so used to doing it for other people and are not the sort of people that ask for help.
“We would just try and manage and do the best that we could in the situation.
People doing this for us is very humbling.Michelle Barrow
“It’s very endearing to think that what we do has touched so many people.
“People doing this for us is very humbling.
“We have been moved to tears a couple of times, it’s so amazing what people are doing for us.”
Michelle was due to pick up her grandson from school when the drama unfolded.
She heard one siren followed by two more while waiting outside the school, but never imagined the fire was at her house.
It was only when a lady tapped on the car window to say there were three fire engines outside her house that she raced back home.
She said: “I just pulled round the corner and there were police, fire engines and paramedics outside my house.
“I got out and they came rushing up to me and said ‘you have lost your conservatory’.”
The first question Michelle asked was if their cat was okay, and luckily she was fine.
But the conservatory and french windows were destroyed, as well as a sofa and computer games, consoles and toys belonging to their 14-year-old son Jordan, who has autism. There was also smoke damage to the rest of the property.
It is believed the fire may have been started by a fault with a heater in the conservatory.
Michelle said: “In 20 minutes I lost my house, that’s really scary.
“The house is going to have to be taken apart and put back together again. It’s like a dream and I will wake up in a minute.”
It is not yet known if or when the family will be able to return to the house, but Michelle said she couldn’t thank the firefighters enough for what they did.
She said: “The fire service have come out to check for hotspots and kept us informed of everything and have been brilliant.”