Pub helps families forced from fire-damaged homes

Pub landlady Angelena Churcher with daughters Gracie and Daisy
Pub landlady Angelena Churcher with daughters Gracie and Daisy

“You don’t know how amazingly a community can pull together until something terrible happens.” Those were the words of pub landlady Angelena Churcher from The Plough, Upper Dicker.

Angelena and her customers have been overwhelmed by the kindness of villagers who have donated cash, clothes and essentials to families forced out of three homes in Coldharbour Road wrecked by a blaze last Friday July 13).

Aftermath ... the homes in Coldharbour Road, Upper Dicker

Aftermath ... the homes in Coldharbour Road, Upper Dicker

Firecrews used a water bowser and aerial ladder to tackle the fire which had spread to three houses. Local people were evacuated and the roads closed as the homes were made safe.

Supported by staff and customers, Angelena found a container which was soon filled with toiletries, baby and toddler clothes, household goods, bedding, cutlery and crockery. She’s sorted everything into age-appropriate bales so each family gets what they need.

It’s closed short term as the families, a couple with two children and two single mums with youngsters, are temporarily rehoused in a Travelodge. When they get back home they’ll need to replace home, kitchenwares and furnishings, then Angelena will renew her appeal.

She sympathises: “I’ve four children of my own and I can’t imagine how dreadful it is for them. All their memories, pictures, even children’s school books and drawings have gone. It’s heartbreaking, but the community has come together.

Find how to help via the Facebook page of The Plough - one of three pubs the family runs.

Other villagers have also stepped up. Resident Chloe Dale has launched a GoFundMe appeal for one of the families. She posted: “We are incredibly grateful for the generosity and kindness shown by all of you. Please keep donating. As most of you know, they have lost the entire contents of their family home. Every donation will make a huge difference.” By midweek, this appeal had raised more than £3,500.