22nd April 2019
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Woman praises community response after house fire

A woman has praised the generosity shown to her by the isles community after her Lerwick house was destroyed by fire.

Helen Tait was forced to rush out of her home at the weekend after fire gripped hold of the Sandveien address.

But the 42-year-old, whose birthday was on Sunday, has been overwhelmed by the goodwill shown to her by friends, family and strangers.

A crowdfunding page was set up in the aftermath of the fire by Ms Tait’s friend, Kirsty Bradley.

Ms Bradley set a £500 target to help her friend out. But so far generous donators have pledged almost £1,900 in support.

Practical goods, such as furniture and electrical items, have also been given to help Ms Tait in her time of need – many from complete strangers.

As well as the crowdfunding page, Ms Bradley also set up a Facebook page, Help Helen Oot After House Fire, which has gained a strong following, too. A drop-off point for small donated items has been established at Ngraved in Commercial Street.

Ms Tait said she was delighted with the response.

“I’m amazed – absolutely overwhelmed by everything everybody is doing. ‘Thank you’ is not good enough. My heart just … I don’t know. I’m absolutely speechless. The support and kindness is amazing.

“If it wasn’t for the support I’m getting from everybody, from family and friends and strangers, I don’t think I’d be sane. They are the ones keeping my spirits up.”

Fire crews went into Ms Tait’s house after the fire started in her living room in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Ms Tait said she was “so proud” of what they had done, and described them as heroes.

“Unless you’ve seen a house fire … These guys go into it. They literally go into danger. I watched them do it.”

Ms Bradley, who is working in Wales, said she wanted to do something that would help her friend after hearing the fire had taken place.

“She [Helen] is one of my oldest friends. I’m down in Wales, so it felt like the only way I could help her,” she said.

Asked what she thought of the huge response, Ms Bradley said: “It’s absolutely out of this world – it really is. It’s just fantastic. I just can’t believe what people are leaving. It’s just been fantastic. Folk are offering furniture and other goods.”

The crowdfunding page can be found at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/kirksty-bradley4helen-taithousefire.

News of the house fire was shared on social media prompting a big response from generous locals.

• For full story see Friday’s Shetland Times

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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