Community rallies around to give arson attack family a Christmas

12:45pm Thursday 6th December 2012

KIND-HEARTED families across Halesowen and Sandwell are saving a stricken mother and her children’s Christmas after their Rowley Regis home was burnt down.

Louise Pilkington, aged 31, is still in hospital being treated for severe burns after an arson attack destroyed her Haden Walk house on Sunday morning.

Miraculously, her 12-year-old daughter and 13-month old baby were rescued unharmed from the blaze but now face an uncertain future without a home.

However, within hours friends and family began an appeal for Christmas presents and household items to help the family.

The Help Group for Rowley Fire Family Facebook page quickly amassed 300 members with promises of three piece suites, televisions, money, clothes, toys and a host of other gifts for the family.

The Bull’s Head pub in Whiteheath has also been deluged with gifts and donations for the family.

Miss Pilkington’s brother, Chris Pilkington, aged 29, said: “The Facebook page and everyone’s support is giving my sister strength. When we told her and it made her cry.

“She said she can’t believe how great you are and our family cannot begin to say what this means to us.”

He added: “She’s lost everything, so every little helps and she’s fighting hard to get better as she just wants to be with her kids.”

Friend Charlene Hands, who helped organise the appeal, said: “I’ve just seen Louise in hospital and she knows she is really blessed to have such wonderful friends and family and would like to thank everyone involved. It is going to be very hard for her in the coming months but we all know she will get there in the end.”

A 42-year-old man was arrested on Sunday night on suspicion of attempted murder and he remains in hospital where he is being treated for burns.

Detectives are appealing for witnesses to the attack at 1am on Sunday.

Detective Constable Andy Barnsley said: “The woman has suffered 15 per cent burns and we believe she was attacked in the garden before the offender deliberately used accelerants to start a fire in the property.

“Thankfully, neither child was injured though the baby, who was asleep at the time, had to be rescued as smoke began filling the bedrooms.

I'd urge anyone with information to contact the inquiry team immediately.”

DC Barnsley can be contacted at the major investigation team at Sandwell on the 101 police number and the Bull’s Head is still accepting gifts.

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