Man who died in Haverhill house fire, Delroy Watson, was a ‘lovely and gentle man’

Scenes of the house fire in Bellings Road, Haverhill.

Scenes of the house fire in Bellings Road, Haverhill. - Credit: Gregg Brown

A 49-year-old man who died in a house fire last week has been described as “gentle” and community minded.

On Friday, police formally named the person who died in the blaze in Bellings Close, Haverhill, in the early hours of Thursday morning as Delroy Watson.

Firefighters found his body in his three-storey terraced home where the fire began. It is understood Mr Watson was a former police officer and he had a child.

Neighbours have spoken of a “gentle” man who would stop and chat, and also said Mr Watson had spearheaded a road safety initiative on the Meadowlands estate where he lived.

Norman Rose, 74, of Bellings Road, said Mr Watson had called at his house to see whether he would support trying to get drivers to be more aware of children playing on the estate and he joined Mr Watson for a meeting with the Haverhill Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT).

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Responding to Mr Watson’s request, SNT officers produced a leaflet urging local residents to consider road safety and help make their streets a safer place for local children. Mr Watson was among members of the community who joined officers to distribute the leaflets to more than 200 houses.

Mr Rose said what had happened was “just so sad” as Mr Watson was such a nice man.

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“I walk past his house every day and you don’t think that could happen,” he said. “The community will never forget it.”

Neighbour Yvonne Wilde, 38, a mother-of-two, said: “We would always say ‘good morning’ and ‘hi’ and exchange words. He was a really gentle man, always very nice.”

The fire has also left a family without a home because the blaze spread to a property next door.

An online fundraising campaign to support those affected by the fire had raised almost £7,000 by Saturday afternoon.

One person who donated posted the message: “I know how dreadful a fire can be, you just don’t know where to turn. My thoughts are with you. I also knew your neighbour. I was very saddened, a lovely man.”

Police have said the fire is not thought to be suspicious but a report will be prepared for the coroner.

Anyone who may have seen or heard anything in the area should call Suffolk police on 101 quoting CAD 22 of March 19.

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