Yorkshire school cleaner whose house was destroyed by fire home in time for Christmas thanks to 'incredible generosity' of employer and community

Christmas came early for one woman from Sheffield, who was able to return to her home after it was severely destroyed in a huge fire.

The fire started in the kitchen at the back of the cooker where there was a faulty wire and a gas pipe that had a tiny leak.
The fire started in the kitchen at the back of the cooker where there was a faulty wire and a gas pipe that had a tiny leak.

In the early hours of May 25, 57-year-old Joy Needham, of Shiregreen, was woken by thick smoke, but she managed to make an escape as the fire ravaged her house.

Her son, Phil Needham, said his mum, who works as a school cleaner, was 'potentially left with nothing' after the fire, which started in the kitchen.

When she saw the considerable damage to her 35-year-old home, which was uninsured at the time of the tragedy, she thought of putting it up for auction.

But she decided against it after receiving significant support from the community and Hinde House School, where she works.

The mother-of-two, who moved into her home two weeks ago, said: "It's marvellous. I didn't think I'd be able to move back in.

"I thought I'd have to put it up for auction, but then people have been so kind. I can't believe it, really. The house is like brand new.

“It's been six months since the fire, and I've been living at both of my sons', my brother's, and my friend's houses nearby.”

Joy Needham, 57, in her kitchen in Sheffield that was rebuilt after a massive fire destroyed it earlier this year, thanks to help and support from the community.

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Phil, 31, said after all the hard work from people and the 'incredible generosity' from everyone involved, the family decided to get the house insured.

He said: "It was one of the first things we wanted to get done."

Hinde House School secondary phase principal Munif Zia, who led a community project to help rebuild Joy's home following the fire, said he was grateful for all the kind support the project received.

The dining room after the fire.

He said: "The essence of all the school community support programmes is based on bringing communities together and helping the vulnerable and elderly.

"Although I took the lead on this project, nothing would have been possible without the support of the individuals and their organisations."

Rob Wild, showroom manager at B&Q on Penistone Road, and Phil Jones, branch director at MKM Building Supplies on Rutland Road, were the individuals and businesses involved.

Also involved were Liam Hulme, director at Global Windows, Ian Wilkinson, branch manager at Homebase on Chesterfield Road, Wall and Floors, and Dulux Decorator Centre.

The dining room that was rebuilt after the fire.