A FAMILY is piecing life back together after a fire ripped through their home and destroyed half of their belongings.

Jay Appleby and her three children lost everything that was upstairs in their house at Coronation, near Bishop Auckland, as a result of the blaze on Saturday.

Now, thanks to generous members of the community, she and children Lexie, ten, Luca, nine, and five-year-old Harper-Mae are getting help to recover.

The Northern Echo: Jay Appleby, front, with Alan and Lisa Jones, Clair McGregor and Luke Jones

Miss Appleby said: "It's been a rollercoaster of emotions.

"We'd had the most lovely day out sledging, the best day ever, then that happened.

"We were cold and wet so were getting changed when the electricity tripped, I went to check the box upstairs and it was ablaze.

"I just got the kids and ran out the house, my little boy didn't even have socks and shoes on, I just chucked them out the house in the snow.

"I rang the fire brigade and couldn't even speak to say which emergency service I needed."

The 30-year-old and her children sat in her for a short while before neighbours came to their immediate aid and took them in while the fire brigade tackled the blaze.

They have since been found alternative accommodation by the landlord while their house is repaired but they lost their beds, clothes and Christmas presents.

And yesterday the Bishop Auckland-based charity Angel Trust gave them £800, toys, food and toiletries.

Miss Appleby, who is training to become a beautician, said: "It's amazing how nice people have been.

"The kids are fine, they're loving the adventure but I have cried in bed."

The Northern Echo: Damage caused to the house at Coronation, near Bishop Auckland, by a fire on Saturday, January 9, 2021

Clair McGregor, chief executive of Angel Trust, said "We are becoming the charity for local people,when something happens my phone pings i got about 6 notifications from various people about their situation when i put the story to the board straight away people wanted to help."

The charity's donation was not only special for miss Appleby's family but also for that of the late Anne Jones, of Ferryhill, who set up a fundraiser after she passed away which has made £850 so far.

Her husband, Alan, daughter, Lisa, and son, Luke – an ambassador for the Trust – were thrilled to see how her legacy was helping another family at a time of need.

Miss Jones said: "Mam hated flowers, they were a waste of time to her, so we started a Virgin Money page in lieu of flowers for the Trust, she loved going to their events, and we were astounded how well it is doing .

"It really is amazing to know that money people thought to put in for our mam can help another family after hearing what the have been through."

To thank the Jones family, the charity had a star named Granny Annie – a nickname she was given by her own grandchildren and her 'adopted' grandchildren – in her memory. People also continue to leave memorial messages on the online legacy page.