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Fundraising campaign for Minster family after devastating blaze ripped through their home

Friends of a family who lost their home in a devastating fire have set up a fundraising page to help them rebuild their lives.

Caroline Kennedy and her partner Kevin Burgess have set up the Go Fund Me page to help Clive Owens and his children Daniel, 28, Demi, 26, and Charlie, 21, after the blaze ripped through their Nelson Avenue family home in Minster, Sheppey.

The fire started in the kitchen of their bungalow at 6.30am on Sunday, June 30 and spread through the property while 54-year-old Clive, a black cab driver, was at work.

There is not much left of the Owens' bungalow in Minster
There is not much left of the Owens' bungalow in Minster

Demi and Charlie were at home.

Four fire engines were sent to tackle the blaze, which is thought to have broken out as a result of an electrical fault.

Caroline, 45, of Queenborough, hopes the fundraising page can raise £50,000 for the Owens.

She said: “I’ve known this beautiful family for over 20 years and they’ve had the worst time lately.

“At the beginning of the year, Clive lost his wife Sonia, and Daniel, Demi and Charlie lost their fabulous mum.

"She was Charlie’s carer as he has spinal muscular atrophy, is wheelchair-bound and needs 24-hour care.

Charlie Owens with his late mum Sonia
Charlie Owens with his late mum Sonia

"Now their world has been devastated even further.

“The fire destroyed their family home, they lost their two beloved Staffie dogs and nearly Charlie, who was trapped inside - the firefighters said another three minutes and they wouldn’t have been able to save him.”

She added: “They’re absolutely devastated and, to make matters worse, they’re now all split up as they’ve had to move in with friends wherever they can.”

Caroline said after Sonia’s death, they had to stop paying their house insurance so they could pay for Sonia’s funeral.

The fire started in the kitchen
The fire started in the kitchen

“We have a great community on this Island and we need to come together for this family,” she said.

“We can’t bring Sonia back but we can help to rebuild their home, where they’ve lived for about 16 years."

The bungalow needs a new kitchen, bathroom, windows throughout and a complete makeover due to extensive smoke damage.

Caroline said the family had contacted the BBC’s DIY SOS team for help.

“As we all know though, they must be contacted by thousands of people every day,” she said. “But it would be nice for us to do our own DIY SOS – maybe there are local businesses or builders that would like to lend a hand? That’d be amazing.”

Firefighters outside house in Nelson Avenue, Minster
Firefighters outside house in Nelson Avenue, Minster

One Islander has already offered his support.

Tony Culwick, a decorator from Sheerness who knows Clive, said he will help redecorate free of charge.

“I want to help him and his family get back where they belong,” he said.

The 47-year-old is now appealing for others to get involved.

“Any person who wants to help out in any way, even making and selling cakes to make a bit of money or donating kitchen appliances and so on, anything we can do to help fix this.”

Tony said MEW Supplies on Sittingbourne’s Eurolink Industrial Estate had also offered to supply cleaning products.

Anyone wanting to help should send an email to timesguardian@thekmgroup.co.uk

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