Couple finally get home back after fire

A COUPLE whose thatched cottage was ravaged by fire just weeks before they were due to be married have finally crossed the threshold of their home as man and wife.

A COUPLE whose thatched cottage was ravaged by fire just weeks before they were due to be married have finally crossed the threshold of their home as man and wife.

Nick and Joanna Totty, from Castle Camps, near Haverhill, have been living out of cardboard boxes since the home they shared burnt down in October 2005.

Not only were they preparing for their wedding on November 12, Mrs Totty was recovering from cancer when the devastating blaze took hold.

But the couple, who went ahead with their wedding as planned despite the fire, said last night they were looking forward to the New Year after moving back into their home.


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“He carried me over the threshold at last when we moved back in and it was wonderful that it is in time for New Year,” said Mrs Totty, who was given the all-clear from her operation to remove a rare form of cancer last year.

“I still have to go back for check-ups and I get very tired, but I am feeling fine now. We still have a lot of our stuff in boxes and I am having a grand clear-out because we don't really need half of it.”

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After the fire in October 2005, villagers in Castle Camps rallied round to help Mr and Mrs Totty, giving them clothes and even the keys to a nearby cottage.

“We started off in the cottage opposite ours until April, but then it was needed as a holiday let,” said Mrs Totty. “We moved down the road to a bungalow and although it was fine it was not great living out of boxes.

“We should have moved back in August, but there were problems with the electrics and then the bath leaked. There were lots of little things.”

On the night of the blaze, the couple had lit a fire and were settling down for the evening when a neighbour knocked on their door and alerted them to the fact there was smoke pouring out the chimney.

After dialling 999, Mr Totty attempted to put the fire out himself using a garden hose, but was overcome by smoke and he and his wife-to-be had no choice but to watch in horror as the flames tore through the listed building.

Mrs Totty added: “We still have boxes of stuff in the garage. When you get to our ages he has his stuff and I have mine. We have a lovely home again and we are both looking forward to retiring here in the future.”

lisa.cleverdon@eadt.co.uk

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