Thousands of pounds raised for orphaned children after mum dies

Back row: Chloe, aged 15, with her mum Gemma Stevens.
Front row: Gemma's daughter Olivia, aged eight and her son Cael, aged five.
Back row: Chloe, aged 15, with her mum Gemma Stevens. Front row: Gemma's daughter Olivia, aged eight and her son Cael, aged five.

Loving tributes have been paid to a Chesterfield mum whose body was found after a house fire in the town - leaving two of her children orphaned.

Thirty-two-year-old Gemma Stevens was found dead by firefighters in her home on Catherine Street, Brampton.

Her youngest child, Cael, five, is now being cared for by Gemma’s mum Janet, while Olivia, eight, is being looked after by her grandma Carol Smith.

Her 15-year-old daughter Chloe is being cared for by her dad Paul Redpath.

Janet, of Norbury Close, Chesterfield, said: “Gemma was my best friend.

“She adored her kids and she was so full of life.

“She would help absolutely anybody.

“Her kids were her life. Everything she did was for them.”

The father of Olivia and Cael, David Bayne, died almost four years ago.

The blaze in the early hours of Thursday, March 3, destroyed the children’s toys, family photographs and was attended by up to 40 firefighters. The children were not in the house at the time.

“Cael does not understand what has happened,” Janet said. “I think he thinks it is a temporary thing and does not realise that she is not with us.

“Olivia is just really quiet and crying. She understands it a little bit more.

“Chloe is absolutely devastated.”

Family friend, Lisa Austin, of Sudbury Close, Chesterfield, launched a fundraising drive to pay for funeral costs, and more than £2,000 was donated within days - as well as dozens of toys delivered to the children.

Lisa said: “Gemma was very bubbly and a lovely person. She always voiced her opinion and would help anyone.”

Any extra money now donated will go towards a trust for the children for when they get older.

Gary Tyson, aged 35, of Shirland Street, Chesterfield, has been charged with Gemma’s murder, committing arson recklessly as to whether life is endangered and attempted wounding.

He will next appear at Nottingham Crown Court on July 1 for a trial and preparation hearing. Tyson was remanded in custody.

A second man, James Bray, aged 26, of Kingsclere Walk, at Grangewood, Chesterfield, has been accused of committing arson recklessly as to whether life would be endangered and to allegedly assisting Tyson.

Bray will next appear at Nottingham Crown Court for a hearing on March 29. He was also remanded in custody.

Gemma Steven’s fundraising page