Haltwhistle fire: Woman tells of losing home and mother's ashes as community rallies round

A woman who lost her home and her mother's ashes in a fire has told of her "horrendous" ordeal and "gratitude" for the community.

Amanda Findlay lived above Haltwhistle Working Men's Club before it went up in flames on Thursday 1 December.

She said: "I was terrified. I just watched the whole place go up. I lost my mam's ashes, my auntie's ashes, just personal stuff that can't be replaced. It's my job, it's my home, it's everything."

Ms Findlay is currently living at the Manor House Inn pub, not far from the ruins of the club.

Manager Terry Christie is letting those made homeless by the fire stay there until they are able to find alternative accommodation.

Mr Christie said: "The whole community has come together. It kind of restores your faith in humankind when you see that kind of generosity and compassion and care."

Ms Findlay said she has "no words" to describe how grateful she is to the community.

She said: "I can't express my gratitude for the fire people who were absolutely amazing and to Terry for looking after everybody. It's amazing."

Fire fighters attended the working men's club in the early hours of the morning. They isolated power in the area and evacuated residents from nearby properties.

Ms Findlay said everybody in the Northumberland town has a story about the club.

Her husband Aidey Findlay, who lived next door to the property, described it as "the hub of the community".

The fire has left the building severely damaged and residents hope to re-build it in the future.

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