The owner of an East Northants shop and family home that was completely destroyed by fire earlier this week says that she was left with only the clothes she stood up in.
Friends of Camille Ortega McLean and her husband Andrew have now launched a fundraising page to help the pair rebuild their lives.
The multi award-winning Pickled Shop in Bulwick was burned down last Tuesday (February 12) evening after a chimney fire spread to the thatched roof.
Led by pal Ali Ogilvy, locals have already raised nearly £3,000 as part of an online fundraising drive.
Camille, who founded the shop in 2005 in Bulwick’s former post office, said: “We are all in shock.
“Absolutely every single thing is burned or destroyed by water.
“But we’re well. Nobody was hurt, and that’s the main thing.
“We walked out of the house with whatever we had on at the time.
“The firemen were able to go back in to get some of my child’s shoes and my handbag and that’s all we have left.
“But some good is going to come out of this. We will come back stronger and better.”
The thatched building in Main Street houses both Camille’s shop and her home, and she described how the fire started as she sat down at 6pm on Tuesday.
“We had lit a fire and were just about to sit down to watch the news. My neighbour came and asked if I knew that the chimney was on fire.
“I phoned 999 and thought they would come and put it out and that would be that.”
But the fire spread and by 10pm, the whole roof was ablaze.
“The whole village congregated outside and they were so supportive. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. It’s such a good example of a village community coming together. There are a lot of good people here.
“Nobody was hurt. Everything else can be replaced.
“The insurance company thinks it will be about a year before we’re back in but I’m hoping to open before Christmas.”
Camille and her husband are staying with their children while a more long-term solution is found by their insurance company.
The shop was set up 14 years ago as a vehicle for Camille to sell her home-made Pickled Village product.
The produce has also been sold in Fortnums, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges as well as in delis and farm shops.
They have also reached fine food shops in France, the Middle East and the US.
Friend Ali Ogilvy, who has launched the gofundme page said: “They’re lovely people.
“We thought as a community that this was the best way of helping them.”
You can donate to the fund here