Hitchin’s social media Samaritans rally to aid of fire victims

Angela Taylor pictured with Lisa Taylor

Angela Taylor pictured with Lisa Taylor - Credit: Archant

Two homeless men were shown the compassionate side of social media after an unexplained fire on Christmas Eve destroyed all their possessions, including irreplaceable family pictures.

The fire at the back of the M&CO store in Hitchin’s Paynes Park at around 5.30pm on Christmas Eve was quickly put out by a crew from Hitchin fire station, but the personal belongings of the two men were destroyed in the blaze.

When news of their predicament was posted on social media, people moved by their loss helped organise a series of collections for the men to make sure they at least had some bedding, food and new clothing to see them into Christmas Day.

Linda Hallidae was one of those who used Facebook to help.

She said: “My daughter works at M&Co and I pulled into the car park at around 5.30pm to pick up her and I saw the fire.

“The fire brigade quickly put it out, but I was told all their possessions had been destroyed including treasured photographs of their families.

“It was Christmas Eve so I went on the We Are From Hitchin Hertfordshire Facebook and posted what had happened asking if people could donate.

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“The response was great and so many people helped. I went back and took them some clothing, a sleeping bag, blankets and food and so did lots of other people.

“I said to them: ‘I’m so sorry about what has happened to you’.

“One of them burst into tears and said: ‘I don’t mind losing my other stuff and my books – but not my family photos’, before he burst into tears because he was so overwhelmed.”

Angela Taylor and her daughter Lisa Taylor, from Willow Tree Way, also helped after reading Linda’s post on social media.

She explained: “It was heartbreaking. I saw it on Facebook and thought I should help as, but for the grace of God, it could be any of us in their situation. They were in tears.”

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