The family of the little girl who survived a fire which killed four people – including her mum – say they are “overwhelmed” by the kindness and generosity of Derbyshire folk.
Tia, aged seven, is living with her dad Dave Harrod following last Wednesday’s tragedy.
Her mum Claire James, aged 27, died in the house fire at North Wingfield alongside Josie Leighton, 32, and her two sons Tyler Green, nine, and Jordan Green, 12. Tia suffered just minor injuries and is now back at school.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Claire’s uncle Adrian Marson told the Derbyshire Times: “Words can not say the pain and heart break we are feeling as a family. At this time it feels we will never be able to get back to normal, before this tragic and traumatic event happened. The way four lives have been snatched away from us, leaving everyone to try and come to terms with their losses.
“Whilst we are going through the grieving process we can only try and imagine how hard it must be for the Leighton family suffering there losses too. It’s hard enough for us, but the loss of those boys it is unimaginable. Our thoughts are also with them at this testing time.
“Whilst nothing can ever take away the pain that we are going through, we have been reduced to tears many times over the past few days when reading on Facebook and hearing all the support from the community that is happening for both families.
“The kind words, comments and to see how Claire affected people’s lives. The way people have been happy to share their experiences that they have managed to share with her, in her life.
“It is truly is overwhelming the amount of support that everyone is offering. From the amazing collections of items to replace all things that our little girl lost. It really is a source of comfort in this our darkest time.
“She worshiped her little girl and often described her as her “little princess”. It appears that no one could have loved Tia more than Claire. She was her life right up until the very end.
“We never got the chance to say how much we loved Claire or how she made us proud and that is the hardest part. We never got the opportunities we would have liked to say good bye.
“Yet the most heart wrenching part is that Claire didn’t get the chance to say good bye to her ‘little princess’ which seems to be one of the cruellest things.”
As two families struggle to come to terms with the horrifying ordeal, communities across Chesterfield and Derbyshire have rallied to collect enough money to pay for the four funerals and set up a trust fund for Tia. Her dad Dave, a psychiatric nurse, said: “I am overwhelmed. It is all a bit of a shock but I feel supported by what everyone is doing, pleased and grateful that people have wanted to help.
“Tia is doing well. She has often said to me, ‘why are these people doing this for me when they don’t know me?’. I think she is a little bit puzzled by it but I have explained that people want to help her.
“I would like to say thank you to everybody that has helped and donated. We also appreciate the fact that people have been quite respectful of Tia’s normality.”