Blickling fire: New life for Silvergate tenants caught up in devastating blaze

The remains of Silvergate Cottages near Blickling Hall which was devastated by fire in which nearly

The remains of Silvergate Cottages near Blickling Hall which was devastated by fire in which nearly 100 firefighters attended. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

A community which rallied in support of tenants who lost their homes in a devastating blaze has been praised for its 'phenomenal' response.

The scene of the fire near Blickling.

The scene of the fire near Blickling. - Credit: Archant

Flames tore through the thatched cottages at Silvergate - on the Blickling Estate - on April 30.

Since then the tenants have been inundated with donations from a community eager to help them get back on their feet and an online fundraising campaign raised more than £1500.

All have now been provided with permanent accommodation by the National Trust on the Blickling Estate.

Local resident Michael Swann, who helped coordinate an appeal for help, said: 'Many, many thanks to everyone who has donated to help the families involved in this terrible tragedy. We feel we have now completed our mission and have provided everything needed to make these folks comfortable in their new homes.

'(On April 30) we awoke to a smouldering wreck, but thanks to everyone's incredible generosity a new life has begun for all those who lost so much. The response to our appeal has been phenomenal and has taken us by complete surprise.

'So, to all those that helped with our appeal with either household items, money, clothes, food and offers of help, the loan a van and the help with lifting and shifting and organising, sending dozens of emails and making countless phone calls etc, etc, thanks to each and every one of you.'

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Initial investigations from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service suggested an ember from a woodburner may have landed on the thatch, causing the fire to start. A woodburner had been lit in the row of cottages about 20 minutes before the blaze broke out on the Saturday afternoon.

It is understood the homes may need to be rebuilt brick by brick and could take two years to become habitable again.

Among the items lost were treasured possessions such as photos, jewellery, address books, music, computers, clothes and love letters - some of which can never be replaced.

However, the appeal helped tenants get back on their feet with donations of furniture, electrical equipment and clothes, along with a number of fundraisers.

And it also attempted to help replace a football sticker collection belonging to one of the children whose home was destroyed and another's soft toy collection.

Mr Swann said: 'So sad to see such a lovely building destroyed, but what's worse is that so much was lost by each of the occupants. So many things that can never be replaced. I just couldn't imagine losing everything I own, let alone stand and watch while everything was consumed by fire on that awful Saturday afternoon.'

An online fundraising page is still accepting donations -