The remains of the house in Puckaster Lane, Niton, after the fire. Picture by Jennifer Burton.
MOVED by the plight of people who lost everything in a Niton blaze, Tara Varakina decided to do something to help them.
She set up an open forum Facebook page and within just an hour-and-a-half had 350 followers.
Now that has mushroomed into a series of fundraising events as the community rallies to support the owner of the destroyed mansion at Puckaster Lane and residents of the nine flats, who could not get insurance.
A huge fire on March 6 destroyed the mansion.
She said: "Those who have lost everything are really in a very bad way in terms of their emotional and mental well-being. They must be in deep shock. They are living in temporary accommodation so it is not the practical things that this is all about — it is about providing them with support. Their possessions, their photographs, their memories — everything has gone.
"I have known several of the residents there in the 20 years I have lived in Niton and I decided to do something to help both them and the owner.
"The owner of the house provided affordable accommodation for people who might otherwise have found it difficult to find somewhere to live and the Niton community is very aware of the plight they all find themselves in."
The first lot to be donated to an online auction next Saturday, April 5, is a woodcarving by Niton chainsaw artist Paul Sivell.
Tara is hoping other businesses and people will come forward and donate to the auction and a raffle.
Also on April 5, between 7.30pm and 9pm, there is a Kirtan yogic evening at the Unitarian Meeting Hall, Newport.
The following day, a healing afternoon is being staged between 1pm and 5pm at the Lotus Tree Studio and Healing Rooms, Newport.
• Details of further fundraising events and contacts can be found on the Puckaster Friends open forum Facebook page.