A mother of six whose house was gutted by fire just weeks before Christmas has thanked locals for sharing the festive spirit to help her.
Lorna Paterson (45) and her six children, aged five to 20, were awoken by a fire in their home in Cockpen, Bonnyrigg at around 7.30am on December 1.
The family had to leave their home with just the clothes they had on after all their possessions were destroyed and the kitchen ceiling and part of the living room ceiling collapsed.
Despite this traumatic event, Lorna has been overwhelmed by the warmth of the local community in helping her and her children get back on their feet in time for Christmas.
She said: “Burnbrae Primary has been absolutely fantastic. The two deputy heads turned up to make sure were ok and see what they could do to help. They have a foodbank so they made up a bag for us.
“Cockpen Church Hall opened their doors for anyone that wanted to hand in donations to help us. Tesco helped by donating a Christmas tree and decorations to make Christmas for the children.
“All of that and the messages of support have reminded me that everyone is there for me, it has meant a lot.
“I didn’t realise so many people out there care and want to help. People were coming round with envelopes with money. People I didn’t even know! And one of my neighbours set up a gofundme page to help us out.
“So I want to say a huge thank you to everybody.”
The family moved into a five bedroom private rent in Gorebridge on December 7. But that hasn’t stopped locals wanting to help. “The community has come together to get us furniture for just about every room,” added Lorna.
“It was incredible we got that place so quickly.
“It was through one of our neighbours that we got a new home. We were delighted to have somewhere before Christmas.”
The family thankfully escaped the fire without serious harm but their home was devastated by the blaze.
Lorna said: “There is nothing left. We lost everything in the house. I had bought some Christmas presents, but not a lot thankfully.
“We came out with what the clothes we had on in our beds. The rest of the rooms are being written off also.
“We were very lucky to all get out. Myself and my eldest were checked for smoke inhalation, but we were fine really, no physical burns or anything.
“We have been really lucky. Nobody had an overnight stay in hospital or anything.
“Neighbours took us in until we sorted out staying with my mum and dad in Eskbank. Ten of us in the house plus a dog and two pups. It was a squeeze to say the least.”
Despite feeling lucky to have escaped the fire unharmed, Lorna did have to count the cost of added recent improvements to her Cockpen home being in vain. She said: “I had recently won a competition to get free new carpets, which were laid just two days before the fire. And we recently had a new door put in linking the living room and kitchen. But we are still here.”