COUNTY NEWS: '˜Beloved' family dog killed in fire was about to appear in a musical

A house fire in Peacehaven has claimed the life of a family dog which was about to appear in a musical in Seaford.

Spirit the lurcher died in the house fire on Monday (September 11)
Spirit the lurcher died in the house fire on Monday (September 11)

Spirit the lurcher had been set to play the role of Sandy the dog in an amateur production of ‘Annie’ when she died in the fire on Monday September 11.

Paula Woolven from Seaford Musical Theatre said: “Children in the cast are devastated by the loss of their friendly cast mate. Spirit was also a beloved family pet.”

Spirit had been at rehearsals for the last eight weeks in preparation for the show which will open at Seaford’s Barn Theatre on Friday September 22.

Spirit in rehearsals with Darcey Puttock-West (9) and Evie Heal (10) who both play Annie in the musical

The show’s director Tony Betts said the theatre group would hold a collection at the end of each performance to donate to Spirit’s owner Angela Simmons.

Mr Betts said: “Spirit’s owner has lost not only her home and possessions but her best friend too.

“The money we collect won’t make up for her loss but we hope it will help with any immediate needs she may have.”

Mr Betts said: “Spirit’s understudy Hector will take her place in the show but Spirit will always be in our hearts.”

Six fire engines were sent to the blaze on Monday evening (September 11)

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service attended the house fire on Cissbury Road at 7.49pm on Monday evening, which police now suspect to have been arson.

A 20-year-old Peacehaven man was arrested near the property on suspicion of arson with intent in connection with the fire, according to Sussex Police.

Sussex Police are now seeking witnesses who may be able to help their investigation into the cause of the fire.

If you have any information about the incident it can be reported online or by calling 101 reporting 1181 of 11/09.