A YEAR ago tomorrow Bridlington suffered its worst fire tragedy.
The town went into shock after three young children died when fire swept through the ground floor of their terraced home.
Neighbours, and emergency services fought to save them but when firefighters discovered Samantha Hudson, 28, and William, 9, A.J, 5, and Maddie, 3, huddled in a second floor bedroom of the house in Clarence Avenue, around midnight on November 11, it was too late.
The three children died from smoke inhalation.
Their mother survived, but was left with brain damage.
The horror of what happened affected neighbours who tried to rescue and even resuscitate some of the children and went straight to the heart of Bridlington.
A fund launched by The Free Press for the grieving family raised more than £3,000 in a matter of weeks.
More than 300 people packed into Emmanuel Church in Cardigan Road and others lined the street as three small white coffins made their way to Bridlington cemetery where the children are buried with a headstone paid for by the fund.
Heartbreakingly, their mother was unaware her children had died, or even that their funeral had taken place.
It would be three months before she would be told about her children.
For some, the funeral was a form of closure on what happened but for family and friends and those involved in the night of November 11 2010 it is something they can not forget.
Samantha Hudson’s parents Robert, 51, and Sharon, 50, who at the time lived close by in Richmond Street, had their world torn apart.
They lost three grandchildren and their daughter still remains in a neurology rehabilitation centre, unable to talk, walk or feed other than through a tube.
Their life, they say, is a kind of hell.
They visit the Brain Injury Trust centre in Goole twice a week to see Samantha. It takes just over an hour each way by car and longer by train.
“She understands what we say, she recognises us, I once had her laughing, but doesn’t speak other than perhaps a single world,” said Sharon.
Sometimes, weather permitting, they take her outside in a wheelchair.
“She enjoys that. She hates to go back inside and you can tell she doesn’t want us to leave, it breaks your heart.
“I took a photograph of her recently when she was sleeping.
“She looked more relaxed like she used to look,” said Sharon, who said Samantha was now getting botox treatment to try and control the involuntary muscle action which can see her with clenched fists and her knees pulled up to her chest.
“She remembers people, friends and family but doesn’t seem to remember the children.
“We don’t know if she has tried to blank them out, but sometimes she cries,” said Sharon.
But, say her parents, although others may not see it, she has come a long way since the early days when she was in a coma for three weeks and they were told it was unlikely she would survive.
Robert and Sharon moved to a new home in Cleeton Walk, Burstall Hill, three months ago.
It was a relief. From their old house they could see one of the children’s bedroom windows and could always imagine them coming in through the back gate.
Everytime they went out they couldn’t stop themselves looking down Clarence Avenue.
But they know Samantha will never see their new surroundings.
“We are hoping she continues to improve but she will eventually reach a stage she won’t improve any more.
“She will need 24 hour nursing care and be on medication for the rest of her life. It is something we cannot do. We are hoping she can find a nursing home here in Bridlington,” said Sharon.
For now their life has to go on but each of the children’s birthdays is always a cruel reminder, also those of their surviving grandchildren.
Tomorrow, the anniversary of their death, Remembrance Day, the family will take flowers to the children’s grave. Something their mother will never be able to do.
“I was going to put a notice for the children in the Free Press but I just couldn’t think of what to say other than we love them and we miss them, we all do,” said Sharon.