Wangford rallies around Lady Penelope Gilbey after devastating kitchen fire
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A village has come together in support of a stalwart member of the community following a fire which forced her from her home.
Lady Penelope Gilbey, of Wangford, was asleep in her bed downstairs on the evening of Friday, September 8, when she heard a 'terrific bang' from the kitchen next door.
It is thought that the fridge suffered an electrical fault which caused an explosion and engulfed the kitchen in flames.
The 85-year-old, who relies on the use of a wheelchair, watched the flames from her bed as smoke filtered into her room.
The explosion had simultaneously tripped the house power supply, meaning the intercom she usually used to contact her
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carer Pippa Llewelyn had stopped working.
She called for help - but her cries went unheard.
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Luckily, Mrs Llewelyn had noticed the loss of power and decided to check on Lady Penelope.
She saw the 'enormous flames' and sprung into action.
Catriona Bradley, Lady Gilbey's daughter, praised the carer's quick-thinking.
She said: 'Pippa was just fantastic – she really saved her life.
'To think she was lying in her bed, frantically calling out for help.
'Pippa bundled her into the wheelchair, got her out of the house and ran with no shoes to the pub.'
Mrs Llewelyn alerted the fire service who arrived and extinguished the fire.
However, the mixture of fire and water damage the property sustained means that Lady Gilbey will not be able to move back into her home until Christmas.
The landlords of The Angel Inn next door, Peter and Christine White, immediately reached out and offered to let Lady Gilbey stay at the pub until her home is ready.
She said: 'They have been wonderful with everything and very kindly offered to let me stay.'
Lady Gilbey is well-known in the village for her charity work with St Peter and St Paul Church and has witnessed an outpouring of support.
She has received a
constant flurry of visitors wishing her well since the incident and has called the village's reaction 'absolutely marvellous'.
Mrs Bradley added: 'The rallying together really shows the wonderful sense of community in Wangford.'