Less than a month ago and just down the road in Betley, the beautifully restored Betley Court burnt down. Mercifully, no-one was hurt but it is a great tragedy to see such a lovingly restored Grade 2 18th Century Manor House go up in flames. 20 people have lost their homes and much of their worldly goods and our sympathy goes to each and every one of them – it is hard to imagine what it must be like for them.
However, one good aspect out of this tragedy was the community response: on the day each resident was offered immediate accommodation; shelter and offers of food and emergency supplies were forthcoming; and the parish council rallied round to make sure that all were supported – it was good to see – and I’m sure that if something similar happened in Madeley, the same would happen.
The Betley Court fire is a salutary reminder that disasters do happen and seemingly out of nowhere. I’m also mindful of Hurricane Dorian and the devastated people of the Bahamas. And of course we all remember Grenville Tower – that awful nightmare and lasting devastation – the aftermath of which still dominates so many lives in that community.
When these tragedies happen, our hearts go out to all affected. It is good to see communities rallying round and it’s important to see how we can help – contributing to disaster funds, offering practical help if we can and holding all affected in our prayers.
There are many problems facing our nation at the moment, but I pray we will never lose the spirit of compassion and the desire to help where we can.