Memorial garden planned for family killed in Exeter house fire

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An Exeter school is fundraising to create a memorial garden dedicated to two sisters following a tragic house fire in February.

Kaylie Rudge, 28, lost her life in the house fire, along with partner Daniel, 29, their four-year-old daughter Lillie-Rose and Kaylie's seven-year-old daughter Iviee-May Hall from a previous relationship.

A nine-year-old boy and a four-year-old boy – Lillie-Rose’s twin brother – were also injured but have since been discharged from Bristol Children’s Hospital.

Iviee-May and Lillie-Rose were pupils at Montgomery School in Exeter, where the loss of the sisters has hit pupils and the staff hard.

Lillie's teacher, Abi Raynor, says they are still trying to process their emotions.

She says: "She was just the loveliest, sweetest girl. She was four so she loved pink and sparkly things and polka dots.

"We talk about the happy memories with her and it's really nice to hear that every so often they'll say 'oh Lillie would have enjoyed this' or 'I used to play this with Lillie'. It's really nice that they're keeping that memory of her with us'.

The home the girls shared with their family near Exeter St David's station is still boarded up after the fire which broke out on Sunday 21 February.

Daniel and Kaylie Rudge also died in the fire. Credit: Damian Rudge

Dozens of people laid flowers and toys on the pavement by the house in memory of the four people who lost their lives inside.

Now Montgomery School hopes to raise enough money for a dedicated garden, which will provide a lasting legacy for Iviee-May and Lillie-Rose.

The school hopes somewhere with benches and paths can be used as a quiet zone at lunchtime and a space for peaceful reflection.

All money raised will be used to transform the garden into a place for "peaceful reflection".

Jason Edge, who is head teacher at the school, said: "The girls were lovely and such happy children, and we just wanted this to be a reflection of them in a way.

"Although there's a great deal of sadness around this story we wanted some good to come from this and to remember the girls in a positive sense for the children and for the wider school community."

A fundraising page has been set up online to help pay for the redevelopment of the garden - donations have already reached several thousand pounds - and they're hoping to start work in the next few months. 

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