UPDATE: Fundraiser praises community as Earlston comes to aid of much-loved family who lost home in fire

Earlston residents have helped to raise more than £6,700 overnight for a disaster-stricken family after they lost their home and belongings during a fire yesterday, December 22.

Monday, 23rd December 2019, 4:14 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd December 2019, 4:19 pm
The fire-hit home in Earlston High Street.

Though nobody was hurt in the blaze, in the town’s High Street, the Murray family lost their home and belongings in the fire, reported at around 2pm.

Before fire crews had even left the scene that evening, an online fundraising page had been set up by family friend Natasha Shewan, 41, who owns local cafe and bookshop the Tea Cosy.

“The response has been amazing,” she said. “It’s the least we can do to help, but it’s just been brilliant to see the way the community has come together.

Jodie Liddle, Maddison Elliott, Natasha Shewan, Khiara- Louise O'Neill and Caitlin Shewan collect donations at the Tea Cosy cafe in Earlston.

“It’s one of those things where we wondered what we could do to help, started the fundraising page aiming to get £500, and never thought we would raise anything near as much.

“It’s been phenomenal. As well as the money on the page we’ve had £500 handed into the shop this morning alone, as well as gifts.

“I’m overwhelmed.”

Natasha says the family, Doreen and John Murray, and their children Hannah, 13, David, 17, and Duncan, 18, have been left with nothing after the fire, believed to have started when a charger overheated.

“It was just horrendous,” she added. “It could have happened to anyone.

“They are one of those families that everybody just loves. They’re well known and very well thought of in the community.

“Hannah is still at Earlston High School so lots of her friends and her parents have been a great help.

“The parents are foster carers and there’s not a bad word to be said about them.

“This appeal won’t give everything back to them that they’ve lost but it’s a help.”

Mum-of-four Natasha, who lives just 20metres up the road from the Murrays’ home, had hoped to raise £500 then close the fundraising page after a couple of days.

However, she’ll keep it open after it pulled in more than £6,700 from more than 300 donations in under 24 hours.

Donations of goods can also still be made by contacting her through The Tea Cosy Facebook page.

Fire crews from Galashiels, Lauder and Selkirk attended, and the town’s High Street was closed to traffic for over eight hours while they tackled the blaze.

A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “We got the call to attend at 2.11pm on Sunday, December 22. It was in High Street in Earlston.

“We had four pumps in attendance, and they were there until 10.31pm.

They had four breathing apparatus and two hose-reel jets, and they extinguished the fire using those.

“We don’t believe anyone was injured.”

The fundraising page is online now at: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/natasha-shewan