A fire in a three-bedroomed house in Merryweather Close, Bradley Stoke, on the morning of Saturday 19th March 2011 tragically claimed the lives of two young children: Charlie (aged 5) and McKenzie (aged 7).
Residents of Bradley Stoke and the surrounding area have rallied round to show support for the bereaved parents Lee and Alex Whitton and their surviving children Jack (six months old), Thomas (9) and Matthew (18).
The Lee and Alex Gift Fund
Neighbours Linda and Rebecca Ashley have set up the Lee and Alex Gift Fund to raise money for the stricken family. All the money raised will be given to Lee and Alex Whitton and the two families in adjoining properties in Merryweather Close, to use as they see fit.
Linda told The Journal:
“We feel as a community that we need to help them as much as possible and we feel that this is just one way that we could help.”
Donations can be made to the following bank account:
Account name: Lee and Alex Gift Fund
Sort code: 40-14-14
Account number: 820338498
Cheques made payable to the Lee and Alex Gift Fund may be posted to:
38 Merryweather Close
Fundraising Event at BAWA on Saturday 23rd April
Victims of Merryweather Bradley Stoke – Group on Facebook
Fundrasing event in the Ballroom of the BAWA Club Filton on Saturday April 23rd 2011.
Doors open from 8pm. Bar close 13:30am. Events ends 1am. Tickets only £10 for Adults, £5 for Children. Tickets available by either contacting us through the Facebook event page or telephoning Louise Keogh on 07545 034450 or Aimee England on 07413 799416.
On the night there will be special guest appearances (names to be confirmed), local bands performing, disco, raffle and auction.
The event is proud to be sponsored and supported by BAWA Filton, who have kindly donated the ballroom for the event.
Flingers in Patchway who have kindly offered to decorate the ballroom at BAWA free of charge as their way of supporting the event.
Deborah Thomas, Manager of the Bear Factory, has offered her support on the night with two employees to have a stall for the children with a mascot and a competition on the night.
Also a massive thank you to SouthWest Flocking and A1Cleaningcrew, two local business who have sponsored the event in addition to giving items for auction.
The event and Facebook Group has been organised by: Louise Keogh, Aimee England, Bev Frail and Karen Newmarch.
All money raised through the event will go into the Lee and Alex Gift Fund run by Linda and Rebecca Ashley of Merryweather Close.
Aimee told The Journal:
“We are over whelmed by the support being shown by the general public especially those of Bristol and surrounding area. None of us had met before this tragic event and it has brought communities together.”
“Mother of two Louise felt that it was so close to home when she heard the tragic news and from that moment forward we met through Facebook and ever since we have worked round the clock to put this event together.”
Louise told BBC Radio Bristol’s Ben Prater on his Friday 25th March programme (listen again until 31st March – interview starts at 1:10):
“There’s some of us out there that can do something to help. Even though we don’t know them, we can still help.”
More details of the event can be found on the BAWA website: Charity Fundraiser for Bradley Stoke Family
Fundraising by Stoke Lodge Primary School
Flowers gifts and message have been placed around the flagpole at the school attended by Charlie, McKenzie and Thomas.
Stoke Lodge Primary School
Tel: 01454 866772
Website: Stoke Lodge Primary School
The school has asked parents and pupils to start thinking about what sort of a permanent memorial they would like to remember Charlie and McKenzie by, and a memory board has been set up to collect thoughts.
Anyone wishing to contribute towards the erection of a “substantial” memorial can send money to the school in an envelope marked “Memorial Fund”. Cheques should be made payable to “Stoke Lodge Primary School Fund”.
Children in Year 4 are collecting specifically for Thomas. New toys or money donations are asked for. The money will be used to purchase a Toys R Us gift card for Thomas. Money should be placed in an envelope marked “Toys R Us Donation” with cheques payable to “Stoke Lodge Primary School Fund”.
Chloe Webster, a Year 7 student at Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS), is doing a three mile sponsored run on Saturday 2nd April to raise money for the Whitton family.
Chloe is planning to run three miles around Bradley Stoke, finishing at BSCS, Fiddlers Wood Lane, where she will be met by a fire appliance from Avon Fire & Rescue.
If you would like to sponsor Chloe, please contact the school via the following e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chloe is hoping to arrive at school at 12 noon following her run, so please feel free to come along and support her.
She told the Bristol Evening Post:
“I didn’t know them but it was very sad, and I wanted to do something to help them. They have lost everything.”
“I like running and I thought this would be something I could do – I think this will be the furthest I have ever run.”
A Message from Avon Fire & Rescue Service
In the wake of the tragic house fire, the fire service has asked The Journal to publicise their offer of a free home fire safety visit, which includes the free installation of a smoke alarm (where required).
How the Fire Tragedy was Reported
Two children die in Bradley Stoke house fire
Saturday 19th March 2011 | Bradley Stoke Journal
Two children found dead in Bristol house fire
Sunday 20th March 2011 | Sky News
Brothers die as parents flee house blaze
Sunday 20th March 2011 | Daily Express
Bristol house fire that killed two boys investigated
Monday 21st March 2001 | BBC Bristol
Neighbours fought in vain to save children who died in Bristol house fire
Monday 21st March 2001 | Bristol Evening Post
Family statement following fatal house fire
Monday 21st March 2001 | Avon and Somerset Police
Bristol fire deaths: Mckenzie and Charlie Whitton named
Monday 21st March 2011 | BBC Bristol
Heartbroken parents pay tribute to ‘little angels’ who died in Bristol house fire
Tuesday 22nd March 2011 | Bristol Evening Post
Bristol house fire that killed two young children ‘was not suspicious’
Friday 25th March 2011 | Bristol Evening Post