LOCAL businesses and customers of a Bridlington pub have helped double the Free Press Clarence Avenue Fund.
The Harbour Tavern in Queen Street held a charity night on New Year’s Eve which raised £1,200 to help the Hudson family in the aftermath of the house fire in Clarence Avenue which killed three children – William, nine, AJ, five and Maddie, three, and left their mother Samantha seriously ill in hospital.
The money was raised by the pub through activities including a sponsored waxing and a raffle to which many local businesses contributed prizes.
Pub manager Sonja Olsen Kjolnes thanked everybody who donated to the event. She said: “People have been really generous.
“We went round all the local shops asking for support and we got lots of prizes which went into a huge raffle.
“The family are regulars here so we all wanted to do something to help them and it’s great that so many people got on board and we managed to raise so much. Donations keep coming in all the time.”
The event has boosted the Free Press Clarence Avenue Fund to £2,347 – which will be put towards the costs of a headstone to be placed at the children’s grave in Bridlington Cemetery.
Sharon and Robert Hudson – parents of Samantha and grandparents to William, AJ and Maddie – are already working with J G Gardiner Ltd stonemasons in Sewerby Road to design a suitable headstone for the three children.
Mr Hudson said: “It’s a long process. It could take up to three months before it’s ready and of course the more you add on to it, the more expensive it gets, but you obviously want it to be just right because it will be there forever.”
The couple have decided on a large lavender granite stone which will be shipped from China.
A photograph of the three children will be embedded at the top of the stone which will bear the names and dates of William, AJ and Maddie, plus a verse which reads: ‘Tread carefully, here lies my world. Sleep my little ones, sleep.’
Mrs Hudson said that choosing the right words has been a difficult process for the family.
She said: “It is hard for us because this is something that Sam should be doing really.
“We’re just trying our best to choose the right words and the kind of design that we think she would have wanted.
“We chose the colour, which is a kind of purpley-blue, because it stood out and when we went to the cemetery to see other headstones, it was just a sea of black and we didn’t want that for the kids.”
Mr Hudson added: “We wanted to put the photo on it so that people who visit it can see them.
“We’ve got young grandchildren who may not remember what they looked like.
“Family photographs always seem to end up all over the place, so we wanted one on the stone so that it’s always there and the younger ones will always be able to go up and see it and remember what they looked like.”
Samantha Hudson’s condition continues to improve slowly at Scarborough Hospital.
It is still planned for her to go to a rehabilitation centre in Goole to continue her recovery.
l The Free Press Clarence Avenue Fund will soon be closing.
Anyone who still wishes to contribute is asked to get their donations into the account by Monday, January 31.
Money can be paid into the Yorkshire Bank branch in Queen Street by quoting Free Press Clarence Avenue Fund.