Northern Ireland news

Co Tyrone woman who lost home in fire fundraising for charity

The blaze at Eimear Donnelly's home on December 31 2020

A WOMAN whose family home was destroyed in a fire is raising funds for a charity that supported her after the devastating blaze.

Eimear Donnelly was in the house in Omagh with her siblings when the fire broke out on New Year's Eve last year. She recalled how after smelling smoke, they found the upstairs of the property was ablaze, but were able to escape unharmed.

In the aftermath, the family received support from British Red Cross volunteers.

"At first, we didn't realise, then we smelled smoke and when we looked upstairs the whole place was on fire.

"Even though it was New Year's Eve, the Red Cross volunteers were still on duty - they came and helped us with clothes and blankets, hot drinks and toiletries, and sat out with us during the night.

"It was such a terrible thing to see our home burn down, but the way people showed such kindness was amazing, it made all the difference to me and my family."

Eight months on, Ms Donnelly said "we are almost ready to move back in and I wanted to do something to raise some money and show how grateful we are".

She has joined forces with friends, Francis McConville and James McSorley, to take on a 24-hour work-out challenge in aid of the charity.

They will be pushing themselves to the limit on Friday when they begin a non-stop work-out relay.

"We wanted to do something a bit different and that people could join in with," said Ms Donnelly.

"James is opening his new gym and has a whole range of machines so we thought this could be a great way to celebrate his new business and raise money for a worthwhile cause."

They are encouraging people to join them for sponsored 30-minute slots.

Ms Donnelly also put fundraising buckets around Omagh and opened a JustGiving page 'Eimear's Reps for Red Cross'.

Charlie King from the British Red Cross said: "The communities where we work really are our life blood - both in terms of fundraising by people like Eimear and her friends and our volunteers who are drawn from the very communities they support, contributing countless hours so they can be there when people need them, even if it's New Year's Eve."

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